News and events - Tampere University of Technology

Happy 30th anniversary, .fi domain!

In December 2016, thirty years have passed since the first .fi domain, a Finnish national network ID, was registered.
At the early stages, Professor Hannu-Matti Järvinen maintained Finland’s name server.
At the early stages, Professor Hannu-Matti Järvinen maintained Finland’s name server.

The set-up and management rights for the .fi domain for Finland were applied for by Tampere University of Technology. The application was submitted to the American Stanford Network Information Center, which administered Internet name services at the time.

The very first .fi identifier registered was for Tampere University of Technology, followed by for Helsinki University of Technology.

"The .fi domain gave access to network IDs, and the .fi form was introduced into Finnish email addresses. What Finland still lacked those days was an Internet connection," says Professor Hannu-Matti Järvinen from TUT’s Department of Pervasive Computing.

Finland’s Internet connection closed down due to hacking

In December 1988, the Internet connection of the Nordic countries suddenly closed down after few weeks of use. As it turned out, Americans had detected a hacking attempt targeted at a server at the Los Alamos nuclear research facility. The connection was restored in a few days, but Finland remained shut down.

"The hacking attempt was tracked down to Jyväskylä. We were very displeased with the situation, of course, and the case was investigated by people all the way in the US. The connection was finally restored after a few weeks," Hannu-Matti Järvinen recounts.

An Internet connection opened in Finland two years later. The mainframe computers of the Finnish higher education institutions had been connected to the national Funet network (Finnish University Network), which maintained the university email services. Together with the Nordic NORDunet research network, Funet was connected to the Internet in November 1988.

"In practice, the connection took a detour in Stockholm. Funnily enough, the 64 kilobit connection was sufficient for Finland as a whole," Järvinen notes.

Academics as the pioneers

The initiative for acquiring the .fi domain was made by Juha Heinänen, TUT’s Assistant Professor for Computing at the time. He had researcher contacts in the United States, so he had knowledge and a vision on the prospective development of information networks.

"We have Heinänen to thank for the fact that Funet also started to support the American Internet protocol alongside the X.25 protocol used in Europe. In fact, X.25 started to lose ground soon after the Internet gained popularity," Järvinen notes.

At the early stages, Hannu-Matti Järvinen maintained Finland’s name server. TUT administered the .fi identifiers until 1993, which was rather convenient since most of the users were academics. Through the FICIX association, the task was finally transferred to the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority in 1997.

Since September 2016, network IDs with the .fi ending have been applied for from registered domain providers. At the same time, the national .fi identifiers were made open to all applicants, whether in Finland or abroad.

From weeks to minutes

Information networks were originally set up for military purposes. Next they spread to universities and science communities. At its initial stages, the Internet was mainly a channel for data transfer.

"Back in 1986, no one dreamt of the World Wide Web and yet the Internet was a significant development step, considering the communication channels available those days. Researchers still wrote a lot of letters in the 1980s. It took a letter a week to travel across the Atlantic, so you could expect a reply in two weeks at the earliest," Hannu-Matti Järvinen recalls.

"Compared to letters, emails that travelled via phone lines between dial-up modems constituted a major step.  A message to the United States travelled in approximately a day. What the sender first had to do, however, was to find a path between their own computer and that of the recipient using a special email map. Continental mainframes served as junction points: mcvax in Europe and decvax in the United States. For Finns, the ‘enea’ mainframe computer in Sweden was a major leg," Järvinen says.

Once the Internet connection opened, it only took a few minutes for an email to reach its destination.

                        December 4, 1986

Dear Hostmaster,

    This cover letter is to provide some background concerning the application by our institution to establish and administer the .FI domain for Finland.

    Tampere University of Technology has been actively involved with networking in Finland both in local and wide area levels.  For four years we have been providing network services and consultation to a variety of scientific and other interested communities.

    Currently we are a major node in SFNET, the Finnish part of the UUCP network with X.25 and phone links to most of the academic UUCP sites in Finland.  Starting January 1st, 1987 our role in the UUCP network will extend as we will, according to the resolution of the SFNET steering committee, become the Finnish UUCP backbone with direct X.25 connections to the other European UUCP backbones.

    In addition to our UUCP connections, we also serve as a gateway between SFNET and FUDEC, the Finnish University and Research Network which covers all DECNet sites in Finnish universities.  Also, we are a site in EARN, the European extension of BITNET. Finally, we participate actively in an experimental X.400 network sponsored by RARE, an association of European national research networks.

    Locally we operate an Ethernet with more than ten TCP/IP machines and about the same number of DECNet machines some of which also run TCP/IP.  In very near future we are going to connect our local internet to similar internets in other Finnish universities (and also to some internets in Sweden) using public X.25 service and Ethernet bridges on leased lines.

    Our previous experience, good connections to other sites/networks, and our governmental nature place us in an excellent position to organize and maintain the .FI domain for Finland. We have establish working relationships with two U.S. Internet sites which will facilitate our maintaining .FI domain information accessible to Internet connected sites.

    Should you wish to inquire further about Tampere University of Technology and its activities, please feel free to contact us directly.  We have also listed a couple of references in the DOD Internet community and a letter from the chairman of the Finnish University and Research Network (FUNET) project.


                Seppo Loimio
                Director of Administration
                Tampere Univ. of Technology

    Tampere University of Technology contact:

        Juha Heinanen
        Tampere University of Technology
        Computer Systems Laboratory
        P.O. Box 527
        SF-33101 Tampere
        +358 31 162111


        Dave Farber
        University of Delaware
        Department of Electrical Engineering
        Newark, DE 19716

        Larry Landweber
        Univ. of Wisconsin
        Computer Science Department
        1210 W. Dayton
        Madison, WI 53706

                        December 4, 1986

Dear Hostmaster,

    The Finnish University and Research Network project (FUNET) has been founded by the government of Finland to coordinate national research oriented networking efforts, to establish liaison with similar organizations in other countries, and to participate as a national body in international networking projects.

    Tampere University of Technology as an active member of FUNET has a wide experience in building and operating various computer networks.  FUNET thus fully supports its Internet domain application and believes that the university has all the qualifications needed to successfully administer the domain.


                Matti Ihamuotila
                Chairman of FUNET
                Finnish State Computer Center
                University Support Division
                P.O. Box 40
                SF-02101 Espoo

                        December 4, 1986

Dear Hostmaster,

The following is an application to register the top level domain for Finland (FI) as allowed by RFC920, section "Top Level Domain Requirements", subsection "Countries". Initially this domain and its subdomains will be used only for mail, but may eventually participate in other Internet services.

The FI domain will be the top level domain for all hosts within Finland. There will be an immediate imposition of a set of second level domain names probably similar to those used in the United Kingdom.

Please establish NIC "whois" database entries for the Administrator and Technical liasons listed below.

1)  The name of the top level domain to join.

           (root domain)

2)  The name, title, mailing address, phone number, and organization of the administrative head of the organization...


         Organization  Tampere University of Technology
         Name          Seppo Loimio
         Title         Administrative Director
         Mail Address  Tampere University of Technology
                       P.O. Box 527
                       SF-33101 Tampere
         Phone Number  +358 31 162111
         Net Mailbox
         NIC-Ident     SL45

3)  The name, title, mailing address, phone number, and organization of the domain technical contact...

      Technical Contact

         Organization  Tampere University of Technology
         Name          Juha Heinanen
         Title         Associate Professor
         Mail Address  Tampere University of Technology
                       P.O. Box 527
                       SF-33101 Tampere
         Phone Number  +358 31 162111
         Net Mailbox
         NIC-Ident     JH141

4)  The name, title, mailing address, phone number, and organization of the zone technical contact...

      Technical Contact

         (same as the Domain Technical Contact above)

5)  The name of the domain. This is the name that will be used in tables and lists associating the domain and the domain server addresses.

      The top level domain FI.

      (FI is the two letter (alpha-2) country code for Finland as specified by ISO standard 3166)

6)  A description of the servers that provide the domain service for translating name to address for hosts in this domain, and the date they will be operational.

      Our servers will be existing nameservers supplied with the additional information necessary to serve the FI domain.  They are already operational and will have the necessary zone information January 1, 1987.  The first two servers will be UNIX machines running the BIND nameserver (named). The NIC may also be a server if they wish.

7)  A description of the server machines, including:

      SEISMO.CSS.GOV:  Sun 3/160 Sun 3.0 unix
     on  CSS-ETHER
      AOS.BRL.MIL:  VAX-11/780 and UNIX,
     on  BRLNET
     on  BRLNET2
     on  BRLNET5
      (note: AOS.BRL.MIL is already a root domain server)

8)  Planned mapping of names of any other network hosts, other than the server machines, into the new domain's naming space.


9)  Delegation for networks in your domain for inclusion in the IN-ADDR.ZONE files, and the fully qualified domain names for the IN-ADDR server sites for each network.


10) An estimate of the number of hosts that will be in the domain.

      (a) initially  =  100
      (b) one year   =  150
      (c) two years  =  300
      (d) five years =  1000

11) A date when you expect the fully qualified domain name to become the official host name in HOSTS.TXT.

      Not applicable.

News submitted by: Mika Puonti
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