About ENUM and NRENum.net
ENUM is a standard protocol that is the result of work of the Internet Engineering Task Force's (IETF's) Telephone Number Mapping working group. ENUM combines telephone numbers and the Domain Name System to simplify the way that VoIP calls (telephone calls made over the Internet) work. It allows more VoIP calls to be connected directly over the Internet, for no charge, rather than via the traditional PSTN network. ENUM translates a telephone number into a domain name. This allows users to continue to use the existing phone number formats they are familiar with, whilst allowing the call to be routed using DNS. This makes ENUM a quick, stable and cheap link between telecommunications systems and the Internet.
IETFRFC 3761 discusses the use of the Domain Name System (DNS) for storage of E.164 numbers. More specifically, how DNS can be used for identifying available services connected to one E.164 number. RIPE NCC provides DNS operations for "e164.arpa" zone (known as Golden ENUM tree) in accordance with the Instructions from the Internet Architecture Board.
NRENum.net is a global ENUM service for academia (i.e. the research and education communty) that uses a private dialing plan. NRENum.net is considered as a complementary service and a valid alternative to the Golden ENUM tree. NRENum.net provides countries, even if the Golden ENUM Tree is not available there, with the possibility to publish ENUM data. The NRENum.net tree can be queried publicly by anyone but only the registered NRENs of the participating countries can populate the tree. It is recommended to all VoIP operators to query both the e164.arpa and the nrenum.net trees.
The domain "nrenum.net" is being populated in order to provide the infrastructure in DNS for storage of E.164 numbers. Holders of E.164 numbers which want to be listed in DNS should contact email@example.com according to the Policy Document. More information about the service can be found here.
Initial benefit of NRENum.net - cheaper calls between VoIP systems
The most important benefit of NRENum.net is that it enables NRENs (and their stakeholders) with a VoIP system to locate other NRENs with VoIP systems and call them directly across the Internet, bypassing the ordinary telephone system and thereby costing no more than the rental already being paid for the Internet connection.
Future benefits - interoperability of applications and new services
NRENum.net allows NRENs to publish much more information to be associated with telephone numbers than just how to make a call to that number. For example, one can publish Video Conferencing numbers (GDS), telepresence numbers, email addresses or other location information. The community anticipates interesting applications that take advantage of this to start to appear and provide even greater benefit to using NRENum.net.