Frequently Asked Questions


What do I do if I lost my password or need to reset my password?
  • First, choose a new password for your maintainer.
  • Next, encrypt your password using our crypt calculator.
  • Finally, email with your maintainer ID and the encrypted form of your new password in the body of the message.

You will be notified when your new password is activated. Note: you will use the unencrypted version of your password to make updates in the RADb. The encryption is used to securely store your password.

When registering objects using crypt-pw, do I send the original password encrypted or in plain text?

after you have submitted a maintainer object with the encrypted password, you will only use the plain text password for updates and new objects. To use our web-based update interface, please follow this link. If you're submitting several objects at once, you may wish to use the email-based auto-processor at Please note, your password will be sent in the clear when using the email update mechanism. If you wish to use email for updates, it is recommended that you upgrade to PGP based authentication. To use password based email updates, you'd send in something like this:

password: mycleartextpassword

aut-num:  AS-55555
desc:     MY ASN

desc:    MY SPACE

Maintainer Fee

Do I need to register my maintainer object before I pay the fee?

Yes. First, compelete the registration process by following the "Register Now" link on the main page. You'll receive an automated e-mail reply indicating that the RADb administrators will add your object (maintainers are the only database objects that need to be manually added in this way.) The DB admins will notify you when your maintainer object has been added -- usually within 12 hours of your request.

Registering a Maintainer Object

What is the purpose of a maintainer object?

The maintainer can be thought of as a container that only authorized users can access. The maintainer is used to provide an authenticated means to add and group other more meaningful objects, such as routes and aut-nums, in the RADb under an organization's authority.

How do I get an AS number?

You can obtain an AS number from ARIN, which handles U.S. registrations, or from one of the other regional registries.

I've gotten an AS Number from ARIN, AS11111. Should the maintainer for my network be MAINT-AS11111?

Yes, that's the most common form for a maintainer ID.

To submit my maintainer, should I pay first and wait for an ack, and then register?

First, fill out the registration web form, and one of the database administrators will add your maintainer object to the database. You can then pay on the web, or wait until you receive an invoice from Merit.

What should I use for my admin-c and tech-c ID's? In the example, it's DMM65. How do I get an ID like that for myself?

That's a NIC handle, an individual identifier that is registered at ARIN or APNIC. If you have a NIC handle, the format would be -ARIN or -AP. You can also use firstname lastname, e.g., Susan Smith.

I have the following IP addresses allocated by APNIC:
  • -
  • -
  • -
Obviously, I can't have a single CIDR route for this. Do I need to submit three requests and pay three times USD$595 (USD$425 for non-profits)?

No. The USD$595 (USD$425) fee only applies to the maintainer object, not aut-num, route or other RPSL objects. You can have as many of those objects as you like.

More Registration Questions

What do I have to do to register in the RADb?

You'll need to submit three types of database records to the RADb: one or more Maintainer objects, an AS object, and one or more Route objects.

You'll need to register a Maintainer object before you can register any AS or Route objects.

To describe any routing policy your AS (the autonomous system that announces your routes), fill out an aut-num object web form.

To register your routes, fill out the route object web form.

Merit provides templates that you can use for your Maintainer, AS, and Route objects.

How many Maintainer objects do I need to submit?

A single Maintainer object can be used for all your AS objects and Route objects, although some providers prefer to register one Maintainer object per AS managed.

What's the difference between and

Consulting questions go to, which is read by humans. is used to submit RADb objects which is machine-processed.

What's the easiest way to update a database entry?

Use the whois tool to obtain a copy of the object. For example:

whois -h MAINT-AS1234 > temp

Edit the record to make the changes. Be sure to modify the "changed:" field so it contains your ID and the current date. Then submit the modified entry to

Do I always need to send in RADb updates from the same e-mail address?

No. But you do need to always provide your maintainer password.

Updates sent via email can originate from any email address, but you must be able to supply with the update your maintainer's unencrypted password, as defined by the encrypted value of at least one of the mntner CRYPT-PW attributes. Failing to provide your maintainer unencrypted password will result in a failed update.

How can I use whois to query the IRR only for RADb entries?

Use a query such as:

whois -h -- -s radb

Older whois clients may not support the '--' flag and will require the use of quotes around the query. E.g.:

whois -h '-s radb'
Why are my outdated entries still in the RADb?

When you submit a Route object to the RADb, the database software checks to see if there is a matching object in the database. If it finds a match, your submission is treated as an update. If there is not, it is treated as an addition.

The keys to a Route object, i.e., the features that make it unique from other objects, are:

prefix, masklen, origin AS

Thus it is possible for the database to contain several routes for a given prefix/length if they have different origin ASs.

Can we send in our complete database weekly to update our records?

Weekly updates are fine, but try to combine your data into a minimum number of messages. We like to process as few e-mail messages as possible.

What do I need to do when I change to a new network provider?

Here are the steps to follow when you change to a new network provider, or, if you are a provider, when you take over an existing route for a new customer:

  1. Notify your previous provider about the change, and tell them about the changes you're about to make to the RADb.
  2. Send in a new Route object to with the new provider's AS specified in the "origin:" attribute. The "mnt-by:" field must point to an RADb Maintainer object for the new provider.
  3. Depending on who has the appropriate authorization in the Maintainer object for that route, either you or your old provider can now delete the old Route object from the RADb. If your provider does not respond to your request to remove the object, we will work with you and the old provider to get the object deleted.
I keep hearing about the Advisory attribute - is it still in use?

No, it's now obsolete and not required in RADb Route objects.

RADb Update Schedules

How long does it take for changes to be reflected in the RADb?

Updates to the RADb take effect at once, and are immediately reflected in queries to Updates are copied to the Merit FTP area every two hours throughout the day.

How often do you poll(mirror) other registries?

Each of the approximately 40 registries we mirror are polled for updates using the Near Real Time Mirorring(NRTM) protocol every 5 minutes.

The RADb and the IRR

What's the difference between the RADb and the IRR?

The RADb is one of many databases in the Internet Routing Registry, which incorporates registries maintained by more than three dozen national and international networking organizations. While many IRR registries serve a specific customer base, the RADb handles registrations for networking organizations not covered by the other routing registries.

Do all the registries in the IRR contain the same data?

No. The databases are separate entities, and most users will only need to register in one of them. Merit keeps a copy of many of the registries, but entries in the other databases don't actually become part of the RADb.

I'm registered in more than one database. How do I know which database will be used for Internet routing?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Most applications of IRR information are local in scope by providers upon their customers. You will generally need to contact your provider to find out which databases they use to generate their routing policy configurations.

Level3 provides a mechanism for customers to explicitly reference a particular database as a source for as-set information. This is accomplished using a "remarks:" attribute containing the tag "Level3 members:". The entry consists of a database name followed by a double-colon and then the referenced object from the specified database.

Why can't Merit delete an object from the Savvis database?

Only organizations that operate a particular registry (and its authorized maintainers) can make modifications to that registry. In other words, only Savvis can delete objects from its own registry, only Verio from its own registry, and so on.

Stale Objects

What are Stale and Suspected Stale route objects?

Within a maintainer’s Route and Route6 administration pages, you may see certain objects marked with a Suspected Stale (yellow) or Stale (orange) badge. RADb evaluates each Prefix/Origin pair for accuracy based on a methodology derived from the research work by Khan et al.

To summarize the Prefix/Origin Match methodology and criteria (the following Prefix/Origin Match types reference an arbitrary RADb pair (pfx1, as1) and an arbitrary BGP pair (pfx2, as2):

  1. Direct Match: For a direct match to occur, as1 = as2 and pfx1 = pfx2 or px1 is a subnet or supernet of pfx2
  2. Maintainer Match: For a maintainer match to occur, as1 != as2, but the AUT-NUM objects for as1 and as2 or the other route objects for as1 and as2 share exactly one maintainer in common. This should account for proxy-registration. Further, pfx1 = pfx2 or pfx1 is a subnet or supernet of pfx2.
  3. AS Link Match: For an AS Link match to occur, as1 != as2, but there exists an IPv4 "link" between these autonomous systems based on CAIDA datasets ( Further, pfx1 = pfx2 or pfx1 is a subnet or supernet of pfx2.

A route object is deemed as stale if it doesn't meet any of the three criteria defined above.

To determine a level of staleness (yellow or orange) the route object is then given a quality score based on a variety of factors, including:

  • RIR validation status (i.e., is the ASN the legitimate owner of the routing object based on RIR records?)
  • Age of “staleness” (i.e., how long has this route object been reported as “stale”?)
  • Mistaken registration of bogons
  • Reputation (as scored against a variety of trusted, 3rd-party data sources)

Any object in Stale status is potentially in violation of our terms of service, should be reviewed by your team, and deleted if necessary. If you feel that our methodology misclassified your objects, then please contact us. To help us troubleshoot, please provide BGP and other supporting data that demonstrate that your objects are not stale.

For More Information

If you have questions about this information or would like to comment on this FAQ, we invite you to send e-mail to