Packet Clearing House

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Type: Non-Profit Research
Industry: Internet
Founded: 1994
Headquarters: 572-B Ruger Street, Box 29920

The Presidio of San Francisco, California

Country: USA
Key People
Michael LoBue, Executive Director
Bill Woodcock, Research Director
Steve Feldman, Board of Directors

Dorian Kim, Board of Directors

Packet Clearing House (PCH) is a non-profit research organization dedicated to evaluating the operations of Internet traffic exchange, routing economics, and global network development. Since its foundation in 1994, the institute has become one of the leaders in the advocacy for neutral independent network interconnection. PCH also provides route-servers for main exchange points around the world. The Packet Clearing House is composed of a Board of Directors, Technologists, Staff and Volunteers who work together to handle the institute's projects.[1]


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.[2]


Packet Clearing House has different ongoing projects including:[3]

  • Construction of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in developing countries
  • Operations of the Inter-Network Operations Center Dial-By-ASN (INOC-DBA) hotline phone system
  • Support for Domain Name System (DNS) resources
  • Implementation of network research data collection initiatives
  • Presentation of educational materials to promote a deeper understanding about the principles of the Internet Architecture as well as the implications of policies

ICANN Involvement

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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]