We are responsible for coordinating some of the key elements that keep the Internet running smoothly. Whilst the Internet is renowned for being a worldwide network free from central coordination, there is a technical need for some key parts of the Internet to be globally coordinated, and this coordination role is undertaken by us.
Specifically, we allocate and maintain unique codes and numbering systems that are used in the technical standards (“protocols”) that drive the Internet.
Our various activities can be broadly grouped in to three categories:
Management of the DNS Root, the .int and .arpa domains, and an IDN practices resource.
Co-ordination of the global pool of IP and AS numbers, primarily providing them to Regional Internet Registries.
Internet protocols’ numbering systems are managed in conjunction with standards bodies.
We are one of the Internet's oldest institutions, with the IANA functions dating back to the 1970s. Today the services are provided by Public Technical Identifiers, a purpose-built organization for providing the IANA functions to the community. PTI is an affiliate of ICANN, an internationally-organised non-profit organisation set up by the Internet community to coordinate our areas of responsibilities.
This statement describes the role of PTI:
- PTI is responsible for the operational aspects
of coordinating the Internet’s unique identifiers and maintaining the trust
of the community to provide these services in an unbiased, responsible and
Our Policy Remit
We aim to not to directly set policy by which we operate, instead implementing agreed policies and principles in a neutral and responsible manner. Using the policy setting forums provided by ICANN, policy development for domain name operations and IP addressing is arrived at by many different stakeholders. ICANN has a structure of supporting organisations that contribute to deciding how ICANN runs, which in turn informs how PTI is operated. The development of Internet protocols, which often dictate how protocol assignments should be managed, are arrived at within the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Engineering Steering Group, and the Internet Architecture Board.
To improve its operations, we are actively involved in outreach too. As well as in ICANN forums, we participate in meetings and discussions with TLD operators, Regional Internet Registries, and other relevant communities. We provide manned helpdesks at key meetings to allow one-to-one interaction with our community of users, such as protocol developers and operators of critical Internet infrastructure.
Note: Please note, these documents have not yet been revised to reflect the transition of the IANA function in October 2016.
Informational Booklet (PDF, 22 pages)
A booklet providing a general overview of the IANA functions
Webinar: "Who, What, Why of the IANA Functions” (Recorded June 2015)