24 November 2021 | 3 min read

LACNIC: All You Need To Know

Internet number resources in Latin America and the Caribbean are allocated by the Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Center – LACNIC. How does this RIR operate and what does it do?

Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Center (LACNIC)

The Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Center (LACNIC) is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR). Its primary duties are to assign and manage internet number resources, including IP addresses and autonomous system numbers, in Latin America and the Caribbean region. 

This nonprofit international non-government organization is one of the five Regional Internet Registries tasked with the same mission within their respective regions. The other four RIRs and their corresponding areas are: 

  • The African Network Information Center (AFRINIC) – the African continent
  • The Asia-Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) – the East, South and Southeast Asia, as well as Oceania
  • The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) – Antarctica, United States, Canada and parts of the Caribbean
  • The Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Center (RIPE NCC) – Europe, Russia and West and Central Asia

In this piece, we talk more about LACNIC and the importance of this Regional Internet Registry. We also discuss where it operates and which services it provides for the Latin American and Caribbean internet communities, while briefly going over its history. 

Let’s begin by explaining what this organization is in greater detail.

What is LACNIC?

Like all Regional Internet Registries, LACNIC is responsible for administrating internet numbering resources organized within its region, thus contributing to the organization of the entire global system. As a result, we can all communicate and cooperate over the web more easily. 

With its active cooperation policy, the Latin American and Caribbean internet addresses registry effectively contributes to the internet development of the region. Moreover, it supports further economic development and social inclusion in all 33 countries and territories it serves.

LACNIC members, a group of around 10,000 network operators, choose a board of seven directors whose job is to lead the organization and serve the regional community’s interests with the active cooperation policy. 

Image of 7 people that represent 7 LACNIC board directors.
LACNIC board of directors (Logo source)

Now that you know what this organization is, let’s discuss the region it serves and the services it provides.

LACNIC region of service

The regions LACNIC serves are in the very name of the agency – Latin America and the Caribbean. However, not all countries and territories in this part of the globe are under its coverage. Specifically, LACNIC serves the following territories.

  • South/Latin America

This includes the countries of Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Paraguay, Venezuela and Suriname, as well as the territories of French Guiana and Malvinas/Falkland Islands.

  • Central America

This part of the world includes the countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.

  • Part of the Caribbean island chain

Here, LACNIC covers the countries of Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago. Furthermore, this includes the British overseas territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Also, the Dutch Caribbean territories of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and the island of Saint Martin, shared with France.

LACNIC services include IPv4, IPv4 and ASN assignment in Latin America.
LACNIC services

LACNIC services

In essence, the Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Center has the following tasks to perform for the regions it serves:

  • Allocate IP addresses (both IPv4 and IPv6)
  • Assign and manage autonomous system numbers
  • Administer the public Whois database for its area of service
  • Maintain reverse DNS lookup or reverse resolution
  • Represent the Latin American and Caribbean online societies in the global internet community

By performing these tasks, LACNIC helps promote a collaborative internet model, internet development, economic development and a secure internet for the Latin American and Caribbean communities. 

LACNIC history

The agreement regarding the foundation of LACNIC was signed on August 22, 1999, at an ICANN meeting. ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is the overarching organization that makes the internet operable. IANA, or the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, is responsible for assigning internet number resources to each specific RIR. 

In 1992, there were only three RIRs in total, and ARIN was in charge of the regions of Latin America and the Caribbean islands. However, it was decided that the emergence of LACNIC was necessary to ensure the regions’ independence from the United States. 

Eventually, LACNIC was formally established in 2002, with headquarters in Montevideo, Uruguay. 

Timeline of when 5 Regional Internet Registries were established.
RIR establishment dates, with LACNIC emerging in 2002

Like all RIRs that exist worldwide, LACNIC deals with the global exhaustion of IPv4 addresses. In 2014, the RIR exhausted its pool of IPv4, and it currently can only assign /24 to /22 blocks.

Conclusion

Undeniably, the existence of LACNIC is crucial for the internet communities of the 33 countries and territories it serves. 

The organization provides training, holds meetings for LACNIC members and supports the regional community by providing numerous services to increase the capacity of the community and strengthen the internet governance model. 

Most importantly, LACNIC allocates internet number resources to its members, thus establishing the regional community as a crucial part of the global online society.