[LINK] World shrugs as IPv4 addresses finally exhausted

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Thu Feb 3 10:16:10 AEDT 2011

World shrugs as IPv4 addresses finally exhausted
Arpageddon postponed, the day after X-day
By John Leyden
The Register
Posted in Networks, 2nd February 2011 19:44 GMT

The central pool of IPv4 addresses officially ran dry on Tuesday after 
the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) allocated the last 
remaining blocks of address space.

APNIC, which provides internet addressing services to the Asia Pacific 
region, received two /8s (33 million addresses) on Tuesday in a move 
that triggered the immediate distribution of the last five /8s to 
Regional Internet Registries. ISPs and businesses are rapidly burning 
through any IPv4 addresses APNIC makes available, so organisations in 
the region are expected to be among the first to feel the effects of 
IPv4 exhaustion.

The organisation tracking the allocation of IPv4 declared 1 February 
X-Day (exhaustion day), conjuring images of Mad Max-style battles over 
the last remaining supplies of gasoline IPv4 addresses.

In reality, the exhaustion of IPv4 has long been predicted but has 
remained a distant prospect until recently thanks to the use of Network 
Address Translation (NAT) technology, which meant banks of corporate PCs 
all sat behind small ranges of IP addresses. Many units of internet real 
estate are still sparsely used, with only around 14 per cent actually 
been utilised, according to a study by the University of Southern 
California, published on Tuesday.

John Heidemann, leader of a team at the USC Viterbi School of 
Engineering Information Sciences Institute that carried out the study, 
commented: "As full allocation happens, there will be pressure to 
improve utilization and eventually trade underutilized areas."

Unwrapping the hairball that is IP address allocation on the net in 
order to make use of this untapped resource will be far from easy. In 
the short term many businesses and ISPs will be able to get by by 
layering NAT devices, but the long term solution is to move to IPv6, the 
next generation Internet Protocol.

Better utilization, trading, and other strategies can recover "twice or 
four times current utilisation" of IPv4, according to Heidemann, who 
admits that trading our way out of trouble is only a short-term 
solution. "Requests for address double every year, so trading will only 
help for two years," he said.

IPv6 offers a vastly expanded address space but even though it's been 
around for a decade it remains unsupported on many networks. That needs 
to change or else the interweb will become fragmented in the 21st 
century equivalent of a canals and railways transport system.



Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
email:	 brd at iimetro.com.au
website: www.drbrd.com

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