Internet Assigned Numbers Authority: Definition, Examples


The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is an organizational unit under the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Its primary function is to oversee the global coordination of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers, including the distribution of IP addresses and domain names. It also manages protocol parameters used in various internet protocols.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Internet Assigned Numbers Authority” is: ɪntərˈnɛt əˈsaɪnd ˈnʌmbərz ɔˈθɔrɪti

Key Takeaways

  1. Internet Assigned Numbers Authority is primarily responsible for coordinating internet protocol resources worldwide, ensuring the internet operates smoothly.
  2. IANA is the organization which oversees the allocation of globally unique identifiers, including IP addresses and domain names. It ensures each is unique to prevent overlap or confusion.
  3. This organization is a department of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), focusing on maintaining the central list of IP address space, protocol identifiers, DNS root zone, and other internet protocol resources.


The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is an essential component of internet functionality, responsible for coordinating some of the key elements that keep the internet running smoothly. This organization oversees global IP address allocation, DNS (Domain Name System) management, and protocol parameter assignments. These responsibilities are fundamental to maintain uniqueness across the internet, prevent conflicts, and ensure that devices can connect and communicate with each other seamlessly. Therefore, without IANA, there would be significant operational issues, making its role in the technology sphere extremely important.


The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is an operative body that fulfills a crucial role in maintaining the global order of the internet. Its primary purpose is to oversee and manage the allocation of all types of numerical identifiers necessary for the smooth functioning of the internet, and it’s an essential component of the global Internet’s administrative infrastructure.These numerical identifiers include Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and Domain Name System (DNS) root zones, among other resources, which are crucial to ensure the unique addressing of computers on the internet and the correct operation of web-based services respectively. Additionally, IANA oversees the registration of the port numbers and protocol numbers used by the transport protocols like TCP, UDP, and SCTP to differentiate between different services. In essence, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority ensures the structured and unified functioning of the Internet, acting as the steward of these key elements of the internet infrastructure.


1. Domain Names Management: A key function of IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) is to manage the DNS Root, or the top-level domain space. One real-world example of this would be when a new Top Level Domain (TLD) like “.app” or “.blog” is created. These TLDs must be approved and managed by IANA.2. IP Address Allocation: IANA is also responsible for allocating IP address blocks to regional internet registries (RIRs) such as American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), and others. For instance, when a new ISP (Internet Service Provider) starts up in Europe, they’d apply for a range of IP addresses from RIPE NCC (Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre), which itself gets its IP blocks from IANA.3. Protocol Assignments: IANA plays a crucial role in maintaining the various codes and numbers related to Internet protocols. This includes various port numbers, media types, HTTP status codes, and others. A common example would be assigning and maintaining port numbers used in TCP/IP protocol, like Port 80 for HTTP or Port 443 for HTTPS.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q1: What is the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)?** A1: The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANANA) is a department of ICANN, a nonprofit private American corporation responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces and numerical spaces of the internet, ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation.**Q2: What are the responsibilities of IANA?**A2: IANA is primarily responsible for the coordination of specific key elements that keep the Internet running smoothly. These tasks include managing the IP address space and domain name system, coordinating unique protocol parameter values, and managing the .ARPA and .INT top-level domains.**Q3: When was IANA established?**A3: IANA was established informally around 1969 in its role of coordinating the assignment of various technical parameters of Internet protocols. **Q4: Why is IANA important to the operation of the Internet?**A4: IANA is essential in ensuring the unique assignment of names and numbers that are used in the technical running of the internet, such as IP addresses and domain names, without which the operational stability and interoperability of the internet could be affected.**Q5: Who oversees the operation of IANA?**A5: As of October 2016, the U.S. Government’s involvement ended, and IANA transitioned to being operated by the global multistakeholder community, under provisions set by ICANN.**Q6: What is the difference between ICANN and IANA?**A6: ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is a non-profit organization that was established in the United States in 1998 to help manage certain aspects of the internet’s infrastructure. IANA is a function of ICANN, handling some of the key aspects of maintaining the internet’s smooth operation. **Q7: How does IANA assign IP addresses?**A7: IANA assigns IP address blocks to Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) around the world, who in turn distribute the IP addresses to service providers, enterprises, and other users in their specific regions. **Q8: How can I contact IANA?**A8: You can reach out to IANA through the contact form or details provided on their official website:

Related Tech Terms

  • Domain Name System (DNS)
  • Internet Protocol (IP) Address Allocation
  • Root Zone Management
  • Protocol Parameter Assignment
  • Generic Top-level Domains (gTLDs)

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents

More Terms