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Old 03-22-2011, 09:07 PM   #1
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Default Why can companies sell domain names and internet connections?

I've been doing some reading online and on howstuffworks.com and I'm wondering on how people can be charged for things that really should be free. The first thing is domain names. Why can companies charge for domain names? All they do is put the domain name in a database so computers can find you with that name. It's not like they owned that name before they sold it to you. There should definitely be a database where you register your domain names so they stay unique, but it doesn't make sense that you have to buy them.

Why do we use ISPs? If my understanding is correct, our modems connect us to our ISPs which connect us with the rest of the web through IXPs(internet exchanges points). Can I use my modem to directly connect to the IXP to get to the website I want?
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Why can companies sell domain names and internet connections?

I know nothing about this, but, I would assume that for a domain name, its a reservation of space. Why they charge so much is the real question.

and as I read it, the IXP is just another connection to allow multiple ISP's to talk to one another. say I'm on Rogers, your on Bell (or the US equivalents) otherwise only Rogers customers could talk each other and so on.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Why can companies sell domain names and internet connections?

why do they charge?

OK, for the domain registration system, yes, they are just putting a name in a database... but.

in order for it all to work.

we need the 8 root servers in the world that respond to unknown DNS request, those servers need to be good so that they respond fast, they also need to be powered, and cooled, they need to be maintained, there are staffing costs.
after those root servers we have the authority servers, for example when you register a .co.uk address name the registra needs to register that name with nominet, so that when someone searches for www.mysite.co.uk this is the action

your computer doesn't know the address, and your local names server is unlikely to either.
so the computer goes and talks to the registra of .co.uk's that tells it that mysite.co.uk was registered with 1 and 1, 1 and 1 hold a record telling them that the name servers for my site are registered at DNS provider.net, and so you finally get to see my site.

In that scenario there are... Registra, authority, DNS provider 3 companies, at least 11 name servers (8root + at least 3 others) plus associated database and web servers for storing customer details, three customer services help desks, three techies behind the scenes for setting things up. at least three accountants to generate bills and three customer service staff to send me the bill.

they also each have a website (which had to be made by someone).

so that's a whole bunch of machines, at least 12 staff suddenly my £1.99 for 2 years registration doesn't seem so bad when you think of the amount of people and companies involved.

on top of that you need the various internet bodies such as IANA who sort out disputes with domain names.



As for ISPs. they provide the infrastructure, that bit of cable going to your houses didn't put it's self there, it doesn't maintain it's self either. your ISP provides you with more than just a connection...

anyway, you can ask for a dedicated line (a les) that can go from your house directly into a major backbone provider. these are typically only used by businesses given the massive costs associated.


In theory, I agree with what you're saying, a domain name is just a few records in some databases, a link to the internet is just a link to a world wide packet switched network... it's just the amount of people and resource that make it neigh on impossible for the average person to set all this up themselves.
and if you can't set it up yourself, you pay someone else to do it. that's why it costs so much
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: Why can companies sell domain names and internet connections?

Ok, the DNS stuff makes sense. Is there a way to figure out what DNS servers a packet goes through? Kind of like a traceroute but just for DNS? Or do the DNS servers show up traceroute?

For the ISP question, pretty much we pay for the T1 lines right? Theoretically, someone could connect a T1 line from their house to an internet exchange point I could use the internet just like I would if I used the ISPs T1 line?
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Why can companies sell domain names and internet connections?

well... yes and no...

it's a little more complicated than that.

if you want to do away with your ISP you could run your own cable to an exchange and talk to a backbone provider that has interlinks around the world, say Level3...

so you're no longer paying for the maintenance of your telco providers lines equipment and staff, and you've removed a layer of cost.

but now you're still having to link into someone else's gear somewhere further down the line.

When you get two large backbone providers they generally don't charge each other. so consider if there were only 2 ISPs at some point there is a cable run going to each other their equipment.

basically, we'll split it like this, ISP1 host a businesses, say Ebay, ISP2 hosts Amazon they both have a thousand customers (that's people accessing the information on either site)

so customers of ISP1 pay ISP1 to access the internet, and they request information from Amazon, ISP1 requests this information from ISP2, ISP2 sends the information from the amazon servers to customers of ISP1 (amazon pay ISP2 to be sending information from their services, since ISP2 provide their connection)

customers of ISP2 pay ISP2 to access the internet, customers of ISP2 request information from ebay, ISP2 asks ISP1 to send information this information goes through ISP1's network (ebay pay to transmit through this portion) then through ISP2's network (customer pays to receive this).

in the above example because ISP1 and ISP2 are both requesting roughly equal portions of traffic to each other, to save admin overheads they never send each other a bill, their infrastructure is maintained through their own customers (business and residential).

the trouble with your line is that you'll have to pay for the line, and because nobody is ever going to request information from you, you won't be able to reach nill traffic agreements, you'll always be requesting more from the networks that you're sending. so you'll start getting bills from you're backbone provider, (level 3) for the traffic that you're getting through their networks.

(because the internet is ultimately fair, and we pay for what we use... it's only when it gets down to the residential level where we all pay a flat amount regardless of what we use).
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