The features of tel-domains

The technical use of the DNS by tel-domains

.tel: The tel-domains are totally different from other domains
(PresseBox) ( Cologne, )
The tel-domains use the Domain Name System (DNS) in a way that empowers tel-domain owners, whether businesses or individuals, to control how and where people can communicate with them.

Traditional Top Level Domains (TLDs) use the DNS to return Address records or IP addresses that are used to reach websites or send email. In the case of a website, when users look up, their device queries the DNS for IBM’s IP address (the Address record). The DNS returns the IP address associated with ( and the device uses the IP address to locate and view the IBM website.

All existing Top Level Domains use the DNS in this traditional way. However, the tel-domain does not communicate with web content or email -- it enables communication with people. It therefore requires an approach to storing contact information directly in the DNS for which Address records are inappropriate, since an Address record cannot identify a phone number or a VoIP service address, such as a Skype or Yahoo! Messenger.

The tel-domain will allow contact information to be stored directly in the DNS so that when a device performs a query for a .tel domain (i.e.,, the DNS will not respond with an Address record, rather it will return the contact information directly to the device, which enables the click-to-communicate functionality. The following demonstrates how a mobile device can initiate communication using a tel-domain name.

Step 1. The user looks up on his Internet
enabled mobile telephone.

Step 2. The device uses its local network
(GPRS, 3G, WiFi, Ethernet, etc.)
to query the DNS for

Step 3. The DNS responds with the contact
information Adam Smith chooses
to store within his tel-domain.
This could include a mobile phone
number, an email address, his office phone number and much more.

Step 4. The user elects to call Adam Smith on his mobile phone from the proposed list and clicks-to-communicate.

Step 5. Adam Smith is contacted by the user on the mobile phone number of his choice.

At any time and as often as he wishes, Adam Smith can update his contact information stored under his tel-domain name, reflecting changes in how he wishes to be contacted. Every change he makes is immediately visible because it is be published and propagated through the DNS.

However, a person or a company wishing to publish contact information directly within the DNS will need to purchase a .tel domain.

The storing of data in the DNS is accomplished through the use of three types of DNS records: NAPTR, TXT and LOC records.

The tel-domain is the first TLD to harness NAPTR, TXT and LOC records within the DNS and thereby power a compelling solution for contact management that enables both individuals and businesses to store data directly within the DNS.

NAPTR records are a recent and more flexible DNS resource than the conventional Address records used thus far. The stability and robustness of NAPTR records have been proven in a protocol called ENUM, a mechanism for translating telephone numbers into domain names. However, unlike ENUM, the .tel is not encumbered by the regulatory environment found in the conventional telephony world. Additionally, unlike ENUM, .tel is not linked to a single phone number and is therefore portable.

NAPTR records are at the core of what makes the tel-domain powerful and meaningful to individuals and businesses. These NAPTR records will allow for the publication and management of contact information in a way never before possible, including phone numbers (both mobile and fixed line), email addresses, fax numbers, VoIP service identities such as Skype, AIM, MSN (and allow users to distinguish between them), links to webpages, maps and blogs.

These NAPTR records can also point to other NAPTR records, allowing for navigation through a tree of contact information based on geography, department or any other segmentation. They allow for unlimited updating of dynamically changing content and offer immediate global access to all newly updated information. They can be encrypted to protect confidential data and all data returned within the NAPTR records is clickable, enabling a click-to-communicate feature, which makes communication using the .tel as easy as possible for the users.

In addition to storing NAPTR records, the tel-domain uses Text records or TXT records stored directly within the DNS. These TXT records allow for the publication of text based information such as names, titles, mailing addresses, and keywords that will help users search for and find the right person or business they wish to contact. These keywords may be easily indexed and searched, enabling the creation of a DNS-based global white and yellowpages directory service.

Lastly, the tel-domain uses Location records or LOC records to publish geo-location information. This allows businesses and individuals to indicate their precise location. The benefits of publishing live LOC records will increase as more advanced location-based services emerge over the coming years.

Hans-Peter Oswald
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