Last IPv4 blocks are given out
The last remaining IPv4 address blocks have been allocated. IP address administrators (the Regional Internet Registries or RIR) of all five regions (AfriNIC, APNic , ARIN, LacNIC and RIPE) have agreed on how the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) should allocate them. The last five blocks available are to be allocated one each to the five RIRs. This was the conclusion reached by the specialists meeting in Dubai at the 57th session of Réseaux IP Européens (RIPE), which is responsible for Europe and parts of Asia. The existing stock of IPv4 addresses held by the IANA will probably only last until January 2011. The individual registries can continue issuing their remaining addresses to internet service providers until December 2011.
Over the past year, the RIRs and their members have been discussing how to allocate the ever dwindling stock of addresses. The members of the African and Latin American organizations initially wanted the last 25 IPv4 "/8 blocks" (in CIDR – Classless Inter-Domain Routing – terminology) to be divided equally among the registries. They argued that this would protect societies that entered the "internet business" later than others against being robbed of development opportunities. For historical reasons, the allocation of IPv4 addresses is relatively uneven, North America and Europe having the biggest shares. Compromise proposals suggested that the number be reduced to 2/8 blocks. But all regions now favour allocating all addresses down to the last five blocks.
The RIRs next have to make up their own rules for issuing the last reserves of addresses. They can decide independently whether to continue allocating addresses as before right up to the bitter end, or else issue them in smaller morsels, the options spelt out by Gert Döring, chairman of RIPE's Address Policy Working Group.
Axel Pawlik, Managing Director of the Network Coordination Centre (NCC), RIPE's operational arm, told heise online that IP addresses were continually being seen on eBay. Many experts consider it would be wise to authorise transfers in order to prevent the development of a black market. ARIN representatives argued on the other hand that IP addresses are a public resource, not tradeable goods. Pawlik said in response that a lower threshold for reporting such transfers to the registries would enable the latter to keep their databases on the use of addresses up to date. The policy on transfers for the RIPE region will be further discussed in Dubai in coming days.
At this first RIPE meeting in the Near East, representatives of Etisalat, Dubai's local telecommunications provider and the monopoly provider until 2006, and Saudi Arabia's regulator reported on the steps they have taken to introduce IPv6. Etisalat's representative had to swallow some criticism from conference participants who, during his talk about the project, tried out the IPv6 connection and let him know it wasn't working.
On the impending shortage of IPv4 addresses and the efforts and transition scenarios for IPv6, see also:
- OECD member states throw their weight behind IPv6
- Google explains its IPv6 strategy
- IPv4 addresses as "hot goods"?
- EU Commission promotes IPv6
(Monika Ermert) /