In a move to enhance the security and stability of the global domain name system (DNC), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has proposed the creation of a new top-level domain (TLD) for internal use.
The aptly named .internal TLD has been put forward as a replacement for 1.9.168.x.x IPv4 addresses by providing a designated space for private purposes within enterprises and for device vendors.
The decision comes after the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) reviewed 35 different candidate strings, narrowing them down to .internal and .private before finally deciding on the aforementioned.
New .internal TLD proposed to replace 192.168.x.x
Neither is perfect, according to a statement by ICANN. The primary concerns are that .internal could be confused for .int, a TLD reserved for intergovernmental treaty organizations, and that .private suggests a level of privacy. Neither was deemed serious enough for the organization to discount the suggestions, but the connotation of increased privacy led it to land on .internal.
Although ICANN’s board has yet to approve the creation of .internal, the organization is asking the community for feedback.
ICANN also emphasized that operators opting for private namespaces, like .internal, should consider the costs involved. The proposal recommends using subdomains of publicly registered domain names, which would eliminate those costs.
An ICANN Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) advisory from September 2020, when this project started to gain traction, reveals that beyond network operators and routers, companies providing IoT devices, captive portal networks, and other software vendors may also wish to benefit from the proposed TLD.
The same notice confirms that different instances of the .internal domain will have distinc meanings in separate contexts or networks, just the same as we have become accustomed to with 192.168.x.x.
While the process unfolds, the Internet landscape continues to evolve and the adoption of controlled TLDs could help provide more controlled spaces for internal communication, services, and resources.