The internet has moved a little closer to New Zealand this month with the arrival of the first southern hemisphere-based root name server in Auckland.
Internet Software Consortium (ISC) runs the F-root server, one of 13 around the world that provide domain name services at their most basic. Root servers provide the "street map" of the internet - without them users would not be able to reach websites, like www.idg.net.nz without knowing the IP address of that site.
ISC is working with TelstraClear, CityLink, Wellington based FX Networks, router company Juniper Systems and web hosting company 2Day, which operates the country codes for Antarctica (.aq) and Pitcairn Islands (.pn), to provide the mirror for the F-root server, which will be based in the Auckland Peering Exchange (APE).
CityLink's network administrator Andy Linton says having the F-root server based here in New Zealand will not only increase the robustness of the server, but also speed up requests to the server.
"Normally we'd expect to see speeds of around 200 milliseconds for a request to the F-root server. With it here in New Zealand we're getting that down to 12 milliseconds."
Linton says recent stats show around 272 million requests are made to the F-root server every day, and having mirrors of that server available helps spread the load as well as the risk.
"It's also great that it's in the APE because that way any company that peers with APE will also be able to use the server. If we didn't have such a peering environment each ISP would have to come in and set up their own connection with the F-root server and it would have taken ages to get off the ground. It's one of the great benefits of having a neutral peering exchange."
This is the first root server to be mirrored in the southern hemisphere - of the 13 existing root name servers, 10 are in the US, one is in Tokyo and two are in Europe. Only the F server and J server operate a distributed series of mirrors at this stage.