TLDs: The Malawi .mw domain is a top level domain (TLD)
on the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) sitting together
with other TLDs like .com, .org, .uk, .za ... Each TLD is
operated and managed by a registry operator. In Malawi .mw
is operated by Malawi SDNP just as .com is operated by Verisign,
.uk by Nominet, .ng by NIRA etc.
The registry is the repository where Internet users or registrants
register their domains like rbm.mw and specify their details which
are then activated on the DNS for use for websites, e-mails, banking
and other electronic transactions on the Internet, see http://www.nic.mw
Policy: The management of domains is guided by policy and, for TLDs,
policy can be divided into international or global policy such as that
under the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),
as well as policy that is specific for and local to the registry of the
TLD with its associated legal and regulatory framework. Such TLD specific
policy is usually generated and used by those that manage and operate the
registry together with its associated community.
In Malawi this framework includes the Communications Act, the ICT Policy,
the Electronic Transactions Bill when enacted. The registry specific policy
at the .mw registry is managed by SDNP which started as a UNDP supported
Malawi Government Programme and is now incorporated as a company limited
by guarantee under the Malawi Companies Act.
Upgrade at .mw Registry: The growing number of Internet user and services
requires that registries should be robust and efficient. SDNP has reached the
final stages of upgrading the .mw registry with the main aim to significantly
increase automation, efficiency, security and introduce multiple registrars.
This upgrade is from its current model of registry and registrants (2R) to the
case of registry, multiple registrars and registrants (3R model).
A registrar is an accredited legal entity that is designated to provide domain
name registration services to other companies, persons or registrants that
would like to own or already own a particular address on the Internet.
By implementing the 3R registry system, SDNP is opening the registry operation
to more players by introducing multiple accredited registrars who can connect
to the registry in a secure manner supported by digital certificates. This is
expected to increase competition in the DNS industry in Malawi as well as enhance
capacity building in this new area of domain registrars that SDNP is opening up in Malawi.
Historical DNS hierarchy: Above the TLDs is the root of the DNS managed by
ICANN on the IANA function under a contract from the US government. The root is
signified by the dot at the right of the TLD like rbm.mw. It is ICANN under
the IANA contract which delegates who runs each TLD under the root. Malawi
SDNP is the one delegated to run the Malawi .mw country code top level domain
(.mw ccTLD) under a contract signed with ICANN in 2002 witnessed by MACRA. In
an attempt to further internationalize the IANA function, ICANN is managing
the IANA Transition in a major international effort started by the US government.
All this is well documented on the Internet and can easily be accessed with a quick
good Google search or call to SDNP.
DNS services people: When a person on the Internet wants to access something
like the web page http://www.rbm.mw, the resolver
on the user’s computer queries
the root server for the .mw TLD and the root server DNS tells it to ask the .mw
TLD serverchambo.sdnp.org.mw as declared to IANA registry by SDNP, the .mw
operator. The server chambo then gives to the user the name of the DNS server
for rbm.mw as declared at the .mw registry by the RBM domain registrant when
registering the domain rbm.mw. The user then queries the RBM DNS server for
the IP address like 18.104.22.168 of www.rbm.mw. Once the user gets that IP address
then the user connects directly to the server running www.rbm.mw and accesses
the RBM content. The .mw ccTLD registry and DNS hence form part of the critical
Internet infrastructure. Registries and the DNS mediate between names like rbm.mw
that people use and numbers like 22.214.171.124 that people find hard to remember but
which computers require to make connections on the Internet.
For further details on this upgrading of the Malawi .mw ccTLD domain registry by
SDNP to increase automation, security and introduce more players on .mw domains
please see: http://www.nic.mw
Coordinator, Malawi SDNP
http://www.sdnp.org.mw - http://www.nic.mw
Tel: 01874979 – 0882089166 - 0999888461