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IPv4 D-Day Nears as a Huge Chunk of Remaining Addresses is Allocated to ISPs

Posted: 01st Dec, 2010 By: MarkJ
ipv6The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which is responsible for the global coordination of the DNS Root, IP addressing, and other Internet protocol resources, has just allocated two /8 blocks of IPv4 addresses each to the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) and RIPE NCC. The move means that only seven /8s remain in IANA's free pool of addresses (2.7%).

An IPv4 address is assigned to your computer each time you go online (e.g. 85.23.56.198). These are a bit like the online equivalent of your home phone number, except now only a little over 100 Million out of roughly 4.5 Billion addresses remain.

Just two /8 blocks of IPv4 remain to be distributed along the normal method. When the IANA free pool is reduced to five /8 blocks, they will be simultaneously distributed to the five RIRS in accordance with global policy.

As a result the deadline for IPv4 exhaustion, when there will be no more traditional internet addresses left for new connections and devices, could now potentially happen even sooner than expected.

The CTO of Business ISP Timico UK, Trefor Davies, said:

"I note on the wire that the IANA address pool is down to 2%. I will need to revise my exhaustion date but february [2011] is either looking good or too late."

Just a few days ago most estimates put the IPv4 depletion date at between June 2011 and December 2011, although this may now need to be revised again. Naturally some ISPs are looking to give themselves a buffer before this happens, which in turn appears to be hastening network deployment plans and pushing up demand.

Thankfully IPv4 does have a replacement, IPv6 (e.g. 2ffe:1800:3525:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf), which is longer and more secure by design. Sadly many broadband ISPs, hardware (routers etc.) manufacturers and software developers have been slow to upgrade their networks and services. Performance, connectivity and security issues could ultimately strike those that fail to keep pace.
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