Every time you dial into a service provider network or connect to a wired or wireless network that offers Internet access, you are most likely using several components of what is referred to as Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting, or "AAA" for short. The AAA space is quite complex, so when we asked Sean Convery to give us an overview of these technologies, he decided to divide his survey into two parts. Part One—subtitled "Concepts, Elements, and Approaches"—is included in this issue. Part Two, which discusses protocol details and applications, will follow in our next issue.
The Domain Name System (DNS) has been discussed previously in this journal. The most critical part of the DNS is the collection of Root Servers. For protocol reasons, there are only 13 "logical" root servers, but a system of more than 100 servers has been deployed using a technique known as anycast. Steve Gibbard examines the distribution of the root servers in different parts of the world and discusses operational aspects of the DNS.
If you are tracking any part of the IETF process, you should be aware of several important resources. First, the IETF Education Team offers training sessions and educational materials. Second, the IETF Journal publishes timely reports and updates on the activities of the IETF.
Finally, the IETF Tools Team (http://www.ietf.org/tools.html and http://tools.ietf.org) provides many tools and applications for protocol developers. Marshall Rose and Carl Malamud take a closer look at one of these tools, namely a system for writing Internet Drafts and RFCs using XML.
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—Ole J. Jacobsen, Editor and Publisher