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[rpd] AfriNIC and Geo-Location

Ben Roberts Ben.Roberts at
Mon Jul 6 12:50:14 UTC 2015


I think there is a difference between the way it works with RIPE and Afrinic

If I make an assignment in the RIPE DB (from space allocated to a UK entity) and call it Kenya KE and then the geolocation guys have always seemed to take note of that and treat it like its in Kenya.

Seems it works different with Afrinic. Is that an Afrinic issue or one with the geolocation guys?

As Owen says. The way they operate is a mystery. I once found that all of my UK users were blocked from using BBC I player cos my company had 'satellite' in the name and a geolocation 'trust database' marked all my IPs as being 'uncertain location' by association to a company that sells satellite services (and correctly marks all IPs in their location company)


Sent from my iPhone

On 3 Jul 2015, at 18:03, Owen DeLong <owen at<mailto:owen at>> wrote:

I don’t think AfriNIC will have any answers for you.

I think you need to go to the GeoLocation database providers and ask them about their peculiar behavior.

GeoLocation is a black art. It is actually, IMHO, unfortunate that it works as well as it does because it works just well enough that people use it and then when it breaks things horribly for a few customers, those customers are basically SOL.

Apparently I’m one of the more unfortunate because I’ve been hit with geolocation based problems several times (different client networks and different services) and have had very little luck in ever getting anything resolved (in part because my problems usually occur when I am in a transient location).

Personally, I wish we could just teach the world that topology != geography and get rid of the stupid belief that geolocation by IP is a valid concept.


On Jul 3, 2015, at 04:43 , McTim <dogwallah at<mailto:dogwallah at>> wrote:

Morning Andrew,

On Fri, Jul 3, 2015 at 4:06 AM, Andrew Alston
<Andrew.Alston at<mailto:Andrew.Alston at>> wrote:
Hi Guys,

I’ve queried some of this with AfriNIC and am awaiting replies, but in the
mean time I figured I’d ask some questions here and perhaps someone with
more knowledge of how these things work than I can shed some light.

So, scenario.

I have a /16 block, and lets say hypothetically that the block is held by a
Mauritian entity.

I then do an assignment of a /19 out of that /16  block to a sub-company in

The geo-location databases will still insist that block is in Mauritius
(even after weeks)

However, if I do a sub-allocate to a sub-company in Kenya, the geo-location
databases DO show the space in Kenya.

Now, I understand basically what the difference between assignments and
sub-allocations is, but I’m at a loss to understand why the geo-location
databases don’t see updates on assignments, no matter how much I dig into
the issue.

So it seems that geo loc entities only use the allocation (and sub
allocation) country field, not those used in assignments?

If so, then it is those entities that need to change, not Afrinic.

the inetnum template allows for multiple countries to be used in the
"country" field:

inetnum: [mandatory] [single] [primary/lookup key]
netname: [mandatory] [single] [lookup key]
descr: [mandatory] [multiple] [ ]
country: [mandatory] [multiple] [ ]
admin-c: [mandatory] [multiple] [inverse key]
tech-c: [mandatory] [multiple] [inverse key]

org: [optional] [multiple] [inverse key]
status: [mandatory] [single] [ ]
remarks: [optional] [multiple] [ ]
notify: [optional] [multiple] [inverse key]
mnt-by: [mandatory] [multiple] [inverse key]
mnt-lower: [optional] [multiple] [inverse key]
mnt-routes: [optional] [multiple] [inverse key]
mnt-irt: [optional] [multiple] [inverse key]
changed: [mandatory] [multiple] [ ]
source: [mandatory] [single] [ ]

 If I understood this, I could then go to AfriNIC and see if we
could find a way to fix this, because it DOES create a problem for
multi-nationals that are assigning space to companies that are buying cross
border circuits and aren’t geo-located in the original country of
assignment.  (Which creates inaccurate whois data).

it won't be inaccurate if the allocation holder uses the country field
when adding inetnum objects to the afrinic DB, right?

or am I missing smt here?

In our case, I wouldn’t mind doing the sub-allocate, but I also am
struggling to understand the policy motivation behind the sub-allocation
stuff (I’ve queried this with AfriNIC staff a few minutes ago, and I’m sure
when they get time they will explain), but basically if you sub-allocate,
that puts a request through to the staff and seems to ask for all sorts of
justifications for it (addressing plans etc), and I’m trying to understand
if there is anything in the policies that would require this beyond what is
done for assignments.  If anyone knows of anything off the top of their
heads, info would be appreciated.

from :

"6.5 Sub-Allocation

To "sub-allocate" means to distribute address space (by LIRs) to ISPs
for the purpose of subsequent distribution."

In other words, you can further ASSIGN from a sub-allocation, but not
from an assignment, so that is the difference.

"A name indicates what we seek. An address indicates where it is. A
route indicates how we get there."  Jon Postel
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