Routing

Why Is It Important to Install and Measure Root Server Copies in the Region?

30/03/2021

The installation of anycast copies of the 13 Internet root servers across the region has drastically reduced latency and improved Internet user experience in Latin America and the Caribbean.

These are the conclusions of Hugo Salgado, expert and researcher at NIC Chile, after updating a project for conducting measurements on root servers in the LAC region.

LACNIC analyzed the response times between Domain Name System (DNS) root servers and the region using the RIPE Atlas measurement platform, which includes measurements since 2012. Currently, there are approximately 1,200 RIPE Atlas probes deployed in LACNIC’s service region. This project is using these probes to conduct its measurements.

Root server copies installed in the region —more than thirty of which have been installed through LACNIC’s +Raíces project (see map)— have had a direct impact on critical Internet infrastructure and drastically reduced the latency of the original root servers.

There are thirteen root servers worldwide with logical names in the form letter.root-servers.net, where letter ranges from “a” to “m”. Copies of these servers have been deployed around the world using anycast technology. These servers receive thousands of queries per second. Despite this load, however, they can efficiently perform name resolution. To increase this efficiency at the regional level and improve Internet resilience, LACNIC has promoted the installation of anycast copies that allow querying the root server copy closest to each server, thus eliminating the need to reach the original servers.

By way of an example, Salgado noted that this technology allows the Internet to continue operating locally despite interruptions in its connectivity to the rest of the world in a country such as Chile which often experiences earthquakes. “To a large extent this is our goal for installing local copies through the +Raíces Program,” observed Guillermo Cicileo, Head of Internet Infrastructure Research and Development at LACNIC.

According to Salgado, this study seeks to provide organizations in the region concrete reasons to install additional copies of the original root servers. It also seeks to promote the installation of additional RIPE Atlas probes in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to improve measurement results.

The study is hosted on the LACNIC Labs website, where you can find data on how well the responses from each country to each root server are performing, as well as compare different countries or regions. There you will find root server response times. Salgado estimates that response times are adequate in 80% of the region.

The information will be updated every three months based on the information provided by the probes. To conclude, Salgado observed that these measurements provides a representation of domain name system robustness and resilience in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.