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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  TCP/IP Application Layer Protocols, Services and Applications (OSI Layers 5, 6 and 7)
      9  Name Systems and TCP/IP Name Registration and Name Resolution
           9  TCP/IP Name Systems: Host Tables and Domain Name System (DNS)
                9  TCP/IP Domain Name System (DNS)
                     9  DNS Overview, Functions and Characteristics

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DNS Overview, Functions and Characteristics
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DNS Overview, History and Standards
(Page 2 of 3)

Standardization of DNS and Initial Defining Standards

The documents above were discussed frequently over the months that followed, and the basic DNS mechanism revised many times. Several subsequent RFCs were published, updating the DNS cut-over plan and schedule. Finally, in November 1987, agreement on the operation of the system was finalized and a “quartet” of new RFCs were published that formalized the DNS system for the first time. These standards are RFCs 1032 through 1035, shown in Table 163.

Table 163: Initial Standards Defining The TCP/IP Domain Name System (DNS)

RFC Number




Domain Administrators Guide

Specifies administrative procedures and policies for those running a domain.


Domain Administrators Operations Guide

Provides technical details on how to operate a DNS server, including how to maintain portions of the DNS distributed database of names.


Domain Names - Concepts and Facilities

Replaces RFC 882, providing an introduction and conceptual description of DNS.


Domain Names - Implementation and Specification

An update to RFC 883, specifying how DNS works in detail, including resource record definitions, message types, master file format, and resolver and name server implementation details.

These last two documents, RFCs 1034 and 1035, are considered the definitive original specification for the operation of the Domain Name System. While they are now many years old, they still provide the essential description of how DNS works.

DNS has quickly become a very important part of how both the Internet and TCP/IP work. As the Internet has grown to include thousands and then millions of sites, the importance of DNS has grown as well. Today, most people use DNS almost every time they use TCP/IP to access the Internet. It has gone from an alternative form of addressing for applications to one that is preferred by most users. It is an important building block of the more complete “application layer addressing” scheme developed for TCP/IP: Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs).

The hierarchical nature of the DNS name space is the only thing that has allowed the Internet to grow while making the assignment and mapping of names manageable. The authority structure is also hierarchical, giving local administrators control over the names of devices they manage while ensuring name consistency across the hierarchy as a whole. The distribution of data using many name servers and a standardized resolution technique following a standard message protocol provides efficiency and reliability. These concepts will become more clear as we explore DNS more completely in later topics.

Previous Topic/Section
DNS Overview, Functions and Characteristics
Previous Page
Pages in Current Topic/Section
Next Page
DNS Design Goals, Objectives and Assumptions
Next Topic/Section

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