The internet today uses the Domain Name System (DNS) to resolve human readable names to IP addresses. The domain names are currently restricted to a subset of the ISO-8859 Latin 1 alphabet (UTF-5), namely the alphabets A-Z, numbers 0-9 and the hyphenation symbol (-). This paper will describe an effort to create an experimental internationalized DNS to allow the use of internationalized domain names through the use of Unicode on the Web.

To achieve this, we will have an "iDNS proxy server" (proxy) to sit in between the clients and the DNS server. The proxy will transform all internationalized queries to its UTF-5 counterpart using the scheme given in the internet draft "Internationalization of Domain Names" by Martin Dürst (draft-duerst-dns-i18n-01). To ensure compatibility, this iDNS testbed will employ Unicode as the charset. However, to help the large number of users who are using non Unicode compliant software the system will help by converting some of the more popular charset and encoding to Unicode automatically.

With this setup, there is neither the need to change the implementations of the clients nor the primary DNS servers. Currently, there is an experimental testbed implemented in the Asia Pacific region. More information concerning this project and test-bed can be found here.

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26 January 1999, Webmaster