Further extension of anycast network for .nl

In 2017, we continued working to improve and optimise the DNS infrastructure for the .nl domain. That included extending our 'DNS fleet' with additional anycast capacity provided by Canadian registry CIRA. Further DNS enhancements are planned for 2018.

To measure is to know

The availability of the .nl domain is our top priority. We therefore do a lot of research into the behaviour and stability of the DNS. Do resolvers actually behave in the way that the theory suggests they should? If not, what are the implications for things such as TTL (time-to-live) settings? What threats does the infrastructure face, and what are the best countermeasures? And how do we maximise the availability of our DNS infrastructure and ensure a high level of performance for users everywhere? Addressing those questions involves thorough research and continuous knowledge exchange. We are therefore active participants in various forums, such as CENTR, the IETF, RIPE, ICANN and DNS-OARC. The insight gained is utilised for continuous DNS infrastructure review and improvement. Because constant attention is required to keep the DNS in the best possible shape. Not only for .nl, but also for the other top-level domains dependent on our technical infrastructure services, including .amsterdam and .aw.

Partnership with CIRA

Since last year, we've been working with Canadian registry CIRA to boost our anycast capacity. The idea was partly to ensure that we have a variety of good operators as anycast partners. And also to address the capacity implications of our research into the behaviour of resolvers 'in the wild'. Thanks to the tie-in, we now have extra DNS capacity at internet hubs in London, Miami, Toronto, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. The result: increased availability of the DNS for .nl and shorter response times for users around the world. A 25 per cent improvement has been achieved, which translates to an enhanced user experience.

Although it didn't take long to identify CIRA as the ideal partner, a number of questions needed careful evaluation before the arrangement could be formalised. For example, we had to make sure that our compliance with the laws on privacy wasn't compromised. We regard both the .nl zone file and the DNS query data as privacy-sensitive information. So everything that's done with the zone file and query data has to be aligned with the GDPR, soon to become law in the Netherlands. Following a successful roll out, the new set-up has now been operating for some time.

2018: further improvements planned

We intend to continue enhancing the DNS for .nl in the year ahead. The ultimate aim is to migrate from unicast to anycast throughout the network. Various more minor improvements are in the pipeline as well. Details will be given as soon as the plans take shape.

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