[FoRK] It’s official: Asia’s just run out of IPv4 Addresses

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Apr 15 03:35:03 PDT 2011


It’s official: Asia’s just run out of IPv4 Addresses

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | April 14, 2011, 2:27pm PDT

Now, will you take switching over to IPv6 seriously?

IPv4, IP, RIPE, ARIN, Internet, IPv6, Networking, Network Technology, Steven
J. Vaughan-Nichols

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Well, that was fast. The Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) has
just released the last block of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses
in its available pool. We knew this was coming when the Internet Corporation
For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Internet Assigned Numbers
Authority (IANA http://www.iana.org/) announced in February that the last of
the world’s remaining IPv4 blocks had been assigned to the Regional Internet
Registries (RIR). What we didn’t know was that APNIC would run out quickly.
I, and most other people, thought that its supply of IPv4 addresses would
last until at least early summer. We were wrong.

In a statement, ASPNIC announced that, “This event is a key turning point in
IPv4 exhaustion for the Asia Pacific, as the remaining IPv4 space will be
‘rationed’ to network operators to be used as essential connectivity with
next-generation IPv6 addresses (PDF Link). All new and existing APNIC Members
who meet the current allocation criteria will be entitled to a maximum
delegation of a /22 (1,024 addresses) of IPv4 space. ”

So what happened? APNIC Director General Paul Wilson explained the Asia
Pacific region is the first to reach the point of being unable to meet IPv4
demand. This is due to the unprecedented fixed and mobile network growth the
region is experiencing. “Considering the ongoing demand for IP addresses,
this date effectively represents IPv4 exhaustion for many of the current
operators in the Asia Pacific region,” Wilson said. “From this day onwards,
IPv6 is mandatory for building new Internet networks and services.”

Now the question is who’s going to go next. RIPE, which handles Europe, the
Middle East and the former Soviet Union countries? The American Registry for
Internet Numbers (ARIN)? I’d thought at one time, ARIN, at least, would hang
on to 2012, but now I’m not so sure any of RIRs will make it to the end of
2011 with unused IPv4 addresses.

Owen DeLong head of the professional services division, at Hurricane
Electric, a leading IPv6 backbone provider and ISP, told me that with “APNIC
is out now. RIPE is probably next and will probably be in a few months.
Counting on IPv4 for continued growth is a dead-end strategy.”

DeLong continued, “With APNIC running out this week, it is one more clear
wakeup call for anyone thinking that the end of IPv4 growth is not yet upon
us. It is real. It is here. It is urgent to deploy IPv6 to minimize the
disruption this will cause.”

Don’t think he’s just saying that because Hurricane Electric is in the IPv6
business. He’s also saying it because he’s dead right. Sure you, or you CIO
or CFO, may not want to switch to IPv6, but there’s simply not enough IPv4
addresses to go around.

There are work-arounds that make sense. For example, you can use IPv6 on the
Internet side of your load balancers or Web servers while behind these
devices or servers your intranet’s platforms stick with IPv4. The bottom line
still though is that sometime soon your business is going to need to at least
be able to deal with IPv6 on its Internet connections. You can either wait
until events force you into it-and that won’t be pretty-or you can start
planning on it now.

As DeLong said, “Whether you have enough IPv4 addresses or not, people you
need to talk to will probably be pushed to IPv6 in the coming months. As a
result, you will need IPv6connectivity sooner, rather than later. The time to
make a planned deployment is now.”

Sure you can try to buy your way out by picking up unused IPv4 addresses.
But, like John Curran, president and CEO of ARIN, recently told me that while
“ARIN will recognize any transfer of address space that meets the policies
developed by the community. Parties do not have to make use of ARIN’s listing
services; those are entirely a convenience to allow others, not ARIN, to
match those needing and those with available space.” But, I fully expect the
prices for IPv4 addresses from such IP address middlemen, such as Addrex, to
go way up in the coming months.

Wilson, who’s now facing ISPs and customers that are in a panic over ASPNIC’s
new IPv4 restrictions said, with little sympathy, “IPv4 exhaustion has been
identified as a key turning point for a long time, and it should come as no
surprise. Any organization that wishes to remain viable must push forward
with their IPv6 deployment.” Amen.

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