We at IIS reach very many people through our numerous activities to promote the use of the internet. Our broadband speed checking tool Bredbandskollen has millions of users, the school competition Webbstjärnan reaches thousands of students and teachers every year, our annual statistics report Swedes and the internet is read by thousands and we teach loads of children to program through our Kid hacks, just to name a few of them.
But just as natural as it is for us to live up to our charter in terms of increasing the use of the internet, it is to “promote good stability in the infrastructure”. Sometimes it feels like our many investments in technology and internet infrastructure go right past people, so I thought I would summarize what we have done in 2016 and what we plan to do in the future to make the internet and DNS even better technically.
DNSSEC makes DNS safer
DNSSEC is a technology to cryptographically ensure you get the answers from the correct server when you look up a domain name. The technology has been criticized for being too complicated, and it was not easy to get Swedish DNS operators to implement DNSSEC on a broad front. So in 2013, we introduced a “DNSSEC bonus,” where we simply reward registrars who sign domain names. A compensation per signed domain name is paid out twice per year, and during 2016, we paid out almost 4 million SEK in this way.
The effect on the number of secure domain names is clear, from 150,000 in 2012 to 670,000 this year!
IPv6 makes the internet ready for the future
The Internet of Things, millions of new internet users every year, connected mobiles, tables and other devices. One of the linchpins for the internet’s existence is called IP addresses, the four-digit numeric code that identifies every machine on the internet. Since no one really expected the growth of the internet to billions of users from the beginning, the number of IP addresses have been about to run out when internet growth exceeds expectations. Therefore, there is a (slow) transition to the next generation of IP addresses, called IPv6 (IP version six).
This time it’s being done properly and therefore IPv6 addresses will never run out (we hope…) but for us to start using IPv6 on a broad scale, we need more government agencies, companies and net services to start using IPv6. How do you know if an online site is using IPv6 correctly? Just use IPv6alizer – a technical measuring service that we have financed.
The Internet Fund spreads money over the Swedish internet
On our own, we can’t provide all the ideas on how to improve the internet. That’s why we have the Internet Fund, which during 2016 gave out over a million SEK to technical and infrastructure projects that applied through the Fund.
For several years, the Internet Fund has, for example, given money to Karlstad University in order to develop measuring methods for more effective transmissions over IP. The Internet Fund has also supported a project from Uppsala University for more efficient use of TCP for sensor networks.
The Internet Fund has, during its twelve years, handed out over 71 million SEK to projects to improve the internet, so this year’s “tech-million” is just one of many through the years.
Robust DNS infrastructure with Anycast
During the last year, DDOS attacks against DNS infrastructure have become more common. One way to build a more robust DNS infrastructure is to go with Anycast, a technology that distributes information in DNS to several nearby nodes. Anycast is not a “magic bullet” that makes DDOS attacks impossible, but it is a good step on the way to creating higher availability for DNS operators.
IIS is investing in a new Anycast service that our Canadian colleagues from CIRA are offering. Starting February 1, 2017, IIS will therefore offer all of our registrars a completely cost-free Anycast service that they in turn can offer to their customers. The hope is that all registrars eventually get a better, more robust DNS infrastructure, which leads to better access to the Swedish internet. This means an investment of about 2.5 million SEK from our side.
Internet access – how do we measure and quality assure it?
Starting next year, IIS is starting a large effort to investigate what internet access should actually be, and how we can measure and quality assure internet connection in Sweden. For three years, we will, together with a number of other partners, create a definition and hopefully a measurement tool to create a type of certification or “quality seal” for internet access.
Today, you buy internet access from an ISP, with a certain speed – but what does it mean and what can you expect to actually get delivered? IIS wants to make it easier for everyone to assess internet access, and just during the first year, we are investing 3 million SEK in this project, which plans to run for three years.
IIS is, in accordance with our charter, investing the surplus from our operations to improve the internet in Sweden. We do this through mixing investments in infrastructure, use, information and education about the internet and how it affects the present and the future. If you want to read the charter in its entirety, you can find it on our website.