Senegal gets an L-Root server, some insight into root servers in Africa

An important event during the ICANN 42 meeting was the launch of the L-Root server in Dakar which will be hosted by Senegal's Sonatel.

Root servers are the backbone of the internet, containing a database of all the top level domain names on the web and they provide resolution for top level domain names(TLDs) like .com .org .net .info etc and almost all of the country code top level domain names(ccTLDs).

Currently, there are 243 root server copies grouped in 13 clusters (13 root servers with 243 instances) operated by various organizations : A(Verisign), B(Information Science Institute), C(Cogent communications), D(University of Maryland), E(NASA Ames Research Centre), F(ISC), G(US DOD NIC), H(US army res. Lab), I(Netnod), J(Verisign), K(RIPE), L(ICANN), M(WIDE project)

Without the root servers, the internet would simply come to a standstill. Hosting root servers in a country has wide varying implications for the local users. It implies a level of autonomy in DNS resolution can occur within the country even when the international cables are damaged and helps keep internet communications local, thus lowering the costs while improving performance and reliability for local users.

The move to establish an L root server in Dakar will ensure DNS queries in the country and the West African subregion are resolved much faster and generally, more root server copies ensure the overall security and stability of the internet.  This is a privilege that's currently enjoyed only by a few countries in Africa.

Top level domain names are hosted in specific countries depending on the location of their root servers. This ensures that the TLD is always resolvable at all  times. We will soon update you on the TLDs that will hosted on Senegal's L-root server. We hope that in just a year's time, dotafrica(.africa) will  be one of the TLDs on the L-root server in Dakar!

Map Courtesy: Packet Clearing House
Africa, Latin America and the Carribean are some of the most underserved regions in terms of distribution of root server copies. In Africa, root servers copies are situated in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt and now Senegal as the map above clearly shows.