Verisign, which manages the domain name servers for the .com and .net internet domains, this week opened new points of presence in Paris and Brussels that will give some 32 million internet users a faster, more reliable and more secure online experience.
The new regional internet resolutions sites (RIRS) in Paris and Brussels are part of its three-year, £50m Project Titan initiative. By 2010 Verisign aims to have 100 points of presence around the world and to increase the capacity of its global internet infrastructure from 20 to 200 gigabits per second.
For users this means it will take less time to look up the address of an internet address, and it will be harder for frausters to "spoof" them. New, better security software will also help protect the DNS infrastructure against attacks.
Ken Silva, Verisign's chief technology officer, told Computer Weekly two things are driving Project Titan: one is the need to protect the global internet infrastructure against disruptions.
He said Verisign had paid close attention to the denial of service attack on the Estonian internet system in April 2007, as well as the more recent incident when Pakistan's attempt to filter undesirable content crashed large parts of the web.
"We are also seeing growth in the number of probes looking for vulnerabilities that is actually faster than the number of devices joining the net," he said.
The other driver is the rocketing demand for internet addressing capacity for machine-to-machine communications. Silva said demand was doubling every 18 months.
"Improving response times from 240 milliseconds to 40 milliseconds may not matter much to people, but it's very important to machines," he said.
Web 2.0 applications were accelerating demand. "One page on a social networking site may call 15 or 20 addresses to display the associated pictures," he said.
Silva said more people are gaining access to the web. "We were at 1.3 billion at the end of 2007. But India, for example, has only 4% internet penetration at present," he said.
At the same time, applications such as television and fixed and mobile telephony are moving onto the net. As individuals' consumption of bandwidth rises, it vastly increases the amount of machine-to-machine traffic, he said.
Silva said Verisign had for the past four or five years been developing its databases and infrastructure to support IPv6. This is the new version of the internet protocol that Wikipedia says will give everyone currently alive 5×10 to the 28th power internet addresses. But it is not compatible with the present IPv4-baed internet.
Silva said network operators are starting to roll out IPv6 networks and increase their carrying capacity. He expects momentum to build over the next five years. "We aim to be two years ahead of them to avoid any hold-ups," he said.