|6.033 - Computer System Engineering||DNS Hands-On Assignment|
The 6.033 hands-ons are small weekly assignments meant to give you a taste of how we interact with the systems that you're studying. This hands-on exercise is designed to introduce you to the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS). You probably use DNS every day—you used it to get to this page. To prepare for this assignment, please read Section 4.4 of the class textbook, titled "Case study: The Internet Domain Name System (DNS)", which is also assigned for recitation.
You will first read a quick introduction on the tools we use to work with DNS. After that, you will answer some short questions and submit your answers via Gradescope. The questions, and instructions for submission, are at the end of this page.
A good tool for exploring DNS is
dig, short for Domain
dig should be available on all
recent Athena workstations. (If you want to do the hands-on on your
own laptop, you can use ssh to access an
Here is an example use of
adehnert@mint-square:~$ dig wikipedia.org ; <<>> DiG 9.7.0-P1 <<>> wikipedia.org ;; global options: +cmd ;; Got answer: ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 42867 ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 3, ADDITIONAL: 3 ;; QUESTION SECTION: ;wikipedia.org. IN A ;; ANSWER SECTION: wikipedia.org. 572 IN A 18.104.22.168 (*) ;; AUTHORITY SECTION: wikipedia.org. 572 IN NS ns2.wikimedia.org. wikipedia.org. 572 IN NS ns1.wikimedia.org. wikipedia.org. 572 IN NS ns0.wikimedia.org. ;; ADDITIONAL SECTION: ns0.wikimedia.org. 572 IN A 22.214.171.124 ns1.wikimedia.org. 572 IN A 126.96.36.199 ns2.wikimedia.org. 572 IN A 188.8.131.52 ;; Query time: 0 msec ;; SERVER: 127.0.0.1#53(127.0.0.1) ;; WHEN: Tue Feb 5 03:08:21 2013 ;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 159
dig performs a DNS lookup and prints information
about the request and the response it received.
If you run dig, you may see results that differ from those
At the bottom, we can see that the query was
sent to our default server (
127.0.0.1), and that it
took roughly 0 milliseconds to respond. Most of the information we are
interested in is in the
ANSWER section, marked with
(*) above. Let's examine
that section more closely:
;; ANSWER SECTION: wikipedia.org. 572 IN A 184.108.40.206 (*) name expire class type data (IP)We can see that this result is of type
A, an address record: it is telling us that the IP address for the name "
220.127.116.11. The expiry time field "
572" indicates that this record/entry is valid for 572 seconds (about ten minutes). You can ignore the "class" field; this is nearly always
AUTHORITY section contains records of type
indicating the names of DNS servers that have name records for a
particular domain. Here, we can see that three DNS servers
ns2.wikimedia.org.) are responsible for
answering requests for names in the
We can ask a specific server (instead of the default) for information about a host by using the following syntax:
adehnert@mint-square:~$ dig @bitsy.mit.edu wikipedia.org ; <<>> DiG 9.7.0-P1 <<>> @bitsy.mit.edu wikipedia.org ; (1 server found) ;; global options: +cmd ;; Got answer: ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 24050 ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 3, ADDITIONAL: 3 ;; QUESTION SECTION: ;wikipedia.org. IN A ;; ANSWER SECTION: wikipedia.org. 2853 IN A 18.104.22.168 [output truncated]
(recursion desired) flag indicates that
dig requested a recursive
lookup, and the
ra (recursion available) flag indicates
that the server permits recursive lookups (some do not).
dig only prints the final result of the recursive search.
You can mimic the individual steps of a recursive search
by sending a request to a particular DNS server and asking for no
+norecurs flag. For example, to send a
non-recursive query to one of the root servers:
adehnert@mint-square:~$ dig @a.ROOT-SERVERS.NET www.wikipedia.org +norecurs ; <<>> DiG 9.7.0-P1 <<>> @a.ROOT-SERVERS.NET www.wikipedia.org +norecurs ; (1 server found) ;; global options: +cmd ;; Got answer: ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 51557 ;; flags: qr; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 6, ADDITIONAL: 12 ;; QUESTION SECTION: ;www.wikipedia.org. IN A ;; AUTHORITY SECTION: org. 172800 IN NS a0.org.afilias-nst.info. org. 172800 IN NS a2.org.afilias-nst.info. org. 172800 IN NS c0.org.afilias-nst.info. org. 172800 IN NS b0.org.afilias-nst.org. org. 172800 IN NS b2.org.afilias-nst.org. org. 172800 IN NS d0.org.afilias-nst.org. ;; ADDITIONAL SECTION: a0.org.afilias-nst.info. 172800 IN AAAA 2001:500:e::1 a0.org.afilias-nst.info. 172800 IN A 22.214.171.124 a2.org.afilias-nst.info. 172800 IN AAAA 2001:500:40::1 a2.org.afilias-nst.info. 172800 IN A 126.96.36.199 c0.org.afilias-nst.info. 172800 IN AAAA 2001:500:b::1 c0.org.afilias-nst.info. 172800 IN A 188.8.131.52 b0.org.afilias-nst.org. 172800 IN AAAA 2001:500:c::1 b0.org.afilias-nst.org. 172800 IN A 184.108.40.206 b2.org.afilias-nst.org. 172800 IN AAAA 2001:500:48::1 b2.org.afilias-nst.org. 172800 IN A 220.127.116.11 d0.org.afilias-nst.org. 172800 IN AAAA 2001:500:f::1 d0.org.afilias-nst.org. 172800 IN A 18.104.22.168 ;; Query time: 226 msec ;; SERVER: 22.214.171.124#53(126.96.36.199) ;; WHEN: Tue Feb 5 03:23:19 2013 ;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 437As you can see, the server does not know the answer and instead provides information about the servers most likely to be able to provide authoritative information. In this case, the best the root server knows is the identities of the servers for the
Now that you've read the introduction, complete the accompanying questions. Read what's below first.
You'll notice that those questions are given as a read-only Google Doc. That's because we're trying something different with the hands-ons this year, in hopes of giving you better, more timely feedback. You'll download the assignment, type up your answers, and then upload your solution to Gradescope, an online grading tool.
You can download that assignment in whatever format you'd like: a new Google doc, a Word document, etc. We don't care. We do care about the following:
You may need a "course code" to affiliate yourselves with 6.033 Spring 2017 on Gradescope. That code is 9GBEPM.
If you have any questions about how to format your solutions, or how to upload to Gradescope, please post a question on Piazza.
If Gradescope is down or otherwise unavailable to you near the deadline, that is not a reason to not submit your answers. Should this happen, email your solution to your TA before the deadline and we'll sort it out.