Etisalat installs Middle East's first Root Name Server

Etisalat has deployed Middle East's first Root Name Server (RNS) mirror site in the UAE, which promises to dramatically cut down website access time and speed up internet in the region.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  November 18, 2003

The region's internet users served by Etisalat's internet network will now experience faster access to web sites following the installation of the Middle East's first Root Name Server (RNS) mirror site in the UAE, according to Etisalat's UAEnic (United Arab Emirates Network Information Center), the .ae (Arab Emirates) domain administrator of the UAE.

Previously queries took an average 214ms (mille-seconds) round trip and were answered in New York; now the queries will take an average 3ms and will be answered locally in UAE. This reduction in DNS inquiry response time, would have an overall performance improved in accessing world wide web sites.

The need for a RNS is often not readily apparent to the average user as it operates on the backbone of the internet and is not visible.

In May 1995, UAEnic, part of Etisalat started handling the registry operations of the internet domain name for .ae Top Level Domain. It handles the day-to-day operations of Domain Name Registration services and also acts as a local internet registry, where it assigns IP Address to the local internet community - www.nic.ae.

To be installed by the Internet Software Consortium (ISC), the server will store a series of web addresses for identifying and distributing top level Internet domain names, for example '.net', '.com', '.sa' or '.uk'. This enables it to find sites fast by first finding the relevant domain server, then working its way down to the lowest level through a succession of servers.

It will mirror the F-root server, one of 13 RNS around the world that control and organise accessibility to the world's web sites. The F-root server collectively handles over 272 million domain name request queries per day.

"Root Name Servers control and organize accessibility to the world's web sites by referring users to relevant generic and country specific authoritative servers that store the web sites they are trying to access. The installation of the mirror Root Name Server will ensure users will access web addresses faster and enhance the performance and accessibility of the web servers and mail servers," says Abdulla Hashim, manager, UAEnic.

Any other country or Internet Service Provider (ISP) that uses Etisalat's international internet infrastructure to connect to the global Internet via the UAE's Network Access Point (NAP), operated by Etisalat's Unit EMIX, will be able to benefit from the installation.

Customers including Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Sudan and Pakistan will experience faster access to sites and more reliable connection to the internet; as the mirror of root name server is physically collocated in the EMIX Backbone as part of its infrastructure.

"We are excited to bring the F-root server to the Middle East and be able to dramatically enhance the internet performance for the region. This server is one more step in our goal to strengthen the root name server network by providing it with more points to deflect malicious attacks on the foundation of the internet," says Joao Damas, ISC senior programme manager.

Similar root servers are located at key internet hubs around the globe. Ten are located in the United States, whilst Japan, the UK and Sweden each have one. Previously, the region's internet users had to access these RNS overseas in order to access the addresses of registered domains. With the recent local installation of the mirror site this will be done locally, improving access time and accessibility.

"The main advantage of installing the server is robustness and reliability. This enables us to put the country on the global cyber map and raise our profile as an advanced internet enabled country," adds Hashim.

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