Packet Clearing House
|Type:||Not-for-profit public-benefit international organization|
|Headquarters:||932 Parker Street|
Berkeley, California, 94710
|Steve Feldman, Chairman of the Board of Directors |
Bill Woodcock, Executive Director
Sylvie LaPerriere, Board of Directors
Mark Tinka, Board of Directors
Greg Akers, Board of Directors
Packet Clearing House (PCH) is the international organization responsible for providing operational support and security to critical Internet infrastructure, including Internet exchange points and the core of the domain name system. Since its foundation in 1994, it has become one of the leaders in the advocacy for neutral independent network interconnection. PCH also provides route-servers and DNS server clusters for nearly half of the world's Internet exchange points. The Packet Clearing House is composed of a Board of Directors, Technologists, Staff and Volunteers who work together to handle its projects.
PCH is primarily focused on providing educational resources regarding internet topology and economics, routing and technology, and traffic exchange policy, through classes, meetings, and distribution of educational materials. It also conducts research on technology, economic, and policy issues in relation to Internet traffic exchange. The Internet Routing Topology Archive is the longest running research project of the institute; it began in 1997. The archive is a database of Internet topology measurements. In terms of policy, PCH helps policy developers understand the operations of the internet and explains how it affects the economic development and the living standards of people worldwide.
Packet Clearing House has different ongoing projects including:
- Construction of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) globally
- Operations of the Inter-Network Operations Center Dial-By-ASN (INOC-DBA) hotline phone system
- Support for Domain Name System (DNS) resources
- Network research and economic data collection and analysis
- Presentation of educational materials to promote a deeper understanding about the principles of the Internet Architecture as well as the implications of policies
The Packet Clearing House is an active participant in ICANN's activities and conferences, providing comments and recommendations on issues related to the security and stability of the DNS and the internet infrastructure as a whole. In 2009, PCH Research Director Bill Woodcock commented about the GNSO report of fast flux hosting, a strategy that uses short time to live settings and conducts frequent updates to the DNS records to increase the resiliency of a domain name. However, the technique is also used by cyber criminals to develop their phising and pharming activities. In his comment, Woodcock pointed out that the fast flux may cause incremental zone transfer processes to fail because it floods constricted circuits due to constant updates to the DNS. He also pointed out that the Service Legal Agreements of fast flux operators worsens the digital divide and they abuse the domain name system.
In 2010, Woodcock praised ICANN's undertakings in improving the stability and security of the DNS when the internet governing body acted to investigate the impacts of larger root zone and initiated the operational improvements to the L-root nameserver and all the other zones under its direct care. He also commended ICANN's initiative in coordinating and communicating to critical parties regarding remedies to direct threats to the DNS. He stated that, "ICANN has shown itself to be the most appropriate institutional home for DNS security planning and liaison activities, supplementing, complementing, and coordinating the security staff and resources that reside in the network operations, equipment vendor, and academic communities." He also admired the ICANN's plan to create a CERT to serve the needs of the DNS community.
In 2011, ICANN, PCH, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), and the National University of Singapore (NUS) inaugurated the three cyber security facilities located in Singapore, Zurich, Switzerland and San Jose, California, using DNSSEC protocol to provide cryptographic security.