29 November 2021 | 3 min read

APNIC: All You Need To Know

The Asia Pacific Network Information Centre plays an important role in the management of the internet. Keep reading to learn more about this RIR.

A world map with South East Asia and Oceania regions highlighted in pink.

The Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) is a nonprofit organization whose primary role is to manage IP addresses and autonomous system numbers (ASNs) in the Asia Pacific region

APNIC is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR). In total, there are five RIRs, with the remaining four being AFRINIC, ARIN, LACNIC and RIPE NCC, that cover the global network:

  • AFRINIC is the Regional Internet Registry in Africa
  • ARIN manages internet number resources for Canada, USA, parts of the Caribbean and North Atlantic Islands
  • LACNIC coordinates the allocation of the IP address space for Latin America and parts of the Caribbean
  • RIPE NCC is the RIR for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia

Continue reading to learn more about what APNIC is, what it does and what its role is in the global internet network. 

What is APNIC?

As mentioned, APNIC is the institution that allocates IP addresses within the Asia Pacific region. However, this organization does not own IP addresses itself. It receives blocks of internet number resources from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). 

IANA is responsible for the assignment of IP addresses to Regional Internet Registries. Meanwhile, the registries distribute those addresses to Local Internet Registries (LIRs), who allocate them to the end-users and other members

APNIC’s members include internet service providers (ISPs), National Internet Registries (NIRs), Network Information Centers (NICs) and other organizations in the Asia Pacific region. 

Ultimately, the RIR is a nonprofit membership-based organization that anyone can join – both individuals and institutions.

Chart of IANA allocating internet resources to 5 regional internet registries.
IANA allocates internet number resources to 5 RIRs

APNIC functions

To maintain the development of the internet’s infrastructure in the region, APNIC performs a wide variety of functions. The following are the main services of the RIR.

IPv4 and IPv6 allocation

APNIC assigns IPv4 and IPv6 address spaces and ASNs in the Asia Pacific region. The allocation of these resources is a complex process. It requires strict policies, guidelines and cooperation of all participating organizations to ensure efficiency within the network infrastructure.

Whois Database administration

APNIC has a publicly searchable Whois Database. This Whois Database contains records of IP address allocations and the distribution of ASNs throughout the Asia Pacific region. This database can help track network abuse events, including spamming and hacking.

Reverse DNS

APNIC is also responsible for the registration of reverse DNS for IP addresses it administers. This means that APNIC manages reverse zones for IPv4 and IPv6. APNIC members can submit a reverse query to find out a domain name or website address.

Research and development

APNIC activities include the important research on IPv4 depletion, security, IPv6 implementation and related issues. These investigations help APNIC members understand and manage the internet resources better.

Cogs interconnecting to show the different important services of APNIC.
APNIC functions

APNIC history

The Asia Pacific Network Information Centre emerged in Japan on January 15, 1993. At first, it operated as a pilot project to manage resource registration and network operation support in the Asia Pacific region.

Due to Japan’s economic crisis, in 1997, APNIC started searching for new business locations to simplify the operation and reduce costs. Brisbane, Australia, was selected as the most suitable location for the head office. In 1998, APNIC moved to Brisbane and was registered as an Australian company, APNIC Pty Ltd. Its office is currently located in South Brisbane, Australia.

Today, to engage the community in the policy development process, APNIC invites its members to participate in the election of the APNIC Executive Council (EC). EC is the governing body of APNIC that quarterly discusses the policies and strategies on how to adapt to the changing internet environment. The APNIC community participates in the bottom-up Policy Development Process. During this process, anyone can suggest a policy and participate in decision-making.

Currently, with almost 8,000 members and growing, APNIC constantly supports the development of the internet infrastructure. For example, by employing IPv6 capabilities (such as bigger address space and better routing), APNIC tries to ensure the seamless operation of internet services to its members.

The focus on IPv6 is not accidental, since APNIC ran out of IPv4 resources in 2011. As a result, the RIR had to establish strict policies to allocate IPv4 addresses to new and existing networks. APNIC also facilitates the transfer of the unused address space to other members.

An arrow on a gauge points to E to show that IPv4 resources are exhausted.
APNIC’s IPv4 addresses have been exhausted

Conclusion

Each Regional Internet Registry is an intrinsic part of today’s internet. As one of the five registries, the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre is an important player in the management, administration and allocation of internet numbers across its region. 

With the even distribution of resources in the Asia Pacific region, APNIC ensures smooth operation of the entire network to meet the growing demand for an efficient internet infrastructure.