Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

1.22. Who keeps track of all these Internet addresses?

The InterNIC does (and quite a bit more). The InterNIC is a project supported by the National Science Foundation to provide network information services to the networking community. A Network Information Center (NIC) provides information and help to network users. The InterNIC is a five-year project that began in April of 1993. It is a collaborative project of three organizations, each of which provides a part of the InterNIC's services. General Atomics provides Information Services, AT&T provides Directory and Database Services, and Network Solutions, Inc. provides Registration Services. All the services are provided via the Internet by telephone and (if you can believe it!) on paper.

General Atomics offers a variety of information services for Internet users. It acts as the "NIC of first and last resort" by providing a reference desk for new and experienced users and service providers. The reference desk provides listings of Internet service providers in the United States and internationally, as well as books and documents to assist organizations and individuals in getting connected and pointers to network tools and resources.

AT&T lets your fingers do the walking by maintaining InterNIC's directory services, including the Directory of Directories, Directory Services, and Database Services to store data available to all Internet users.

Network Solutions, Inc. provides Internet registration services including IP address allocation, domain registration, and Autonomous System Number assignment. NSI also tracks points of contact for networks and provides online and telephone support for questions related to IP-address and domain-name registration.

Note: The InterNIC can be reached by calling 1-800-444-4345 or 1-619-445-4600 or by sending electronic mail to Extensive online information is available at host accessible via FTP, Gopher, and Telnet.

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