The Domain Name System (DNS) was not designed to support anything beyond 7-bit ASCII characters. Thus my middle name, Jørgen, or my colleague’s surname, Fältström, cannot be used in a domain name. In fact, even using such strings on the left side of the @&-sign—or in the body of an e-mail message—is problematic. We often find ourselves ignoring this limitation, using either “Jorgen” and “Faltstrom” or in some cases the two-letter convention “Joergen” and “Faeltstroem.” As Scandinavians, Mr. Fältström and I are relatively lucky in that our languages contain only three characters in addition to those that can be represented by 7-bit ASCII. This, of course, isn’t true for such languages as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, to name just a few. The IETF, ICANN, and others have been working hard to design and deploy a system that will allow native characters to appear in the DNS. Our first article discusses these efforts, known collectively as Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). Geoff Huston gives an overview of IDNs and describes the many technical and political challenges that must be overcome in order to deploy such a system.
Recent activities have focused much attention on IPv6 deployment. Experiments have been conducted at several major Internet events (NANOG, APRICOT, and IETF) to “turn off” IPv4 for a period of time to test connectivity and interoperability to the outside world. You can read more about these experiments in our “Fragments” section on page 41. Such experiments provide valuable information about what works and what doesn’t, and several more IPv4 “outages” are planned for 2008 and beyond. At the same time, researchers have been looking at ways to scale the routing system of the Internet, regardless of IP protocol version. One such approach is the Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP), which Dave Meyer describes in our second article.The next issue of The Internet Protocol Journal, to be published sometime in June 2008, will be our Tenth Anniversary issue. We would love to hear your reflections on the last ten years of this journal and about the Internet as a whole over the same time period. Send your Letters to the Editor to firstname.lastname@example.org
—Ole J. Jacobsen, Editor and Publisher