The body responsible for handing out IPv4 IP Addresses in Europe and the Middle East, RIPE NCC has today given an update on the expected final depletion of their stock of IPv4 internet addresses.
IPv4 internet address look like 126.96.36.199 and are an essential part of today’s internet. Every device on the internet needs to have an address so that other devices and services can communicate with it. The next generation address system, called IPv6, is slowly growing in adoption but there are still many devices that cannot communicate with devices using the new IPv6 address system. For that reason IPv4 addresses are still sought after, especially by new ISPs, who want to ensure their customers can access every system on the internet.
The update from RIPE NCC predicts that blocks of /22 IPV4 addresses will no longer be available from November 2019, just a month away at the time of writing this post. A /22 is 1,024 IPv4 addresses, and is typically considered the minimum routable size of a block.
Work-Arounds and Options
RIPE NCC still have a million IPv4 addresses available but not in continous 1024 blocks. So they will still help new entrants but they will get non-contigous ranges of IPv4 addresses. RIPE NCC also operate a waiting list – so if IPv4 addresses are handed back, they can be recycled for new ISPs.
Another option is the private market – IPv4 addresses are traded for-profit as they have now achieved a value due to scarcity. At the time of writing, a single IPv4 address is worth about $1.
IPv4 addresses are shared out amongst different geographical areas – some regions in the world have already run out, but some still have reserves – providers can set up local presence in a region that has reserves to obtain IPv4 address space.
Long Term Solution
The new address space, called IPv6, is the long term solution. In fact it is already adopted by all major internet service providers and content providers. So if you use a modern device, and visit the typical popular websites you could well be using IPv6 already and not know about it. But one day, if you are search for some obscure site or have decided to turn on an ancient computer, don’t be surprised if things don’t work like they used to….
2020Media has been working on IPv6 (the next generation internet numbering system) for some time but the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses (IP addresses like 188.8.131.52) is finally gathering some press attention. If you look at this blog page today, January 31st 2011, the counter on the right is showing 1 day to go until there are no more blocks of IPv4 addresses in the IANA bank. If you’re looking at this page later, here’s what it looked like on this historic day:
Keep Calm and Carry On
Of course, the internet is not going to stop working. ISPs and content providers have been working on upgrading their systems to work with the new IPv6 addresses for some time. To draw attention to this, June 8, 2011 is World IPv6 Day – an event organized by the Internet Society and several large content providers to test public IPv6 deployment.
There is one part of the internet lagging behind on IPv6, and that is access – its is almost impossible to purchase an off-the-shelf broadband modem at the moment that supports IPv6. We hope that 2011 will see the release of low cost, easily configurable broadband boxes that allows the average small business and home user to connect via native IPv6.
Bye Bye Ipv4 Ceremony
On Thursday, 3 February 2011, the Number Resource Organization (NRO), along with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) held a ceremony in Miami, Florida to formally handover the last blocks of IPv4 addresses to the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). This means that there are no longer any IPv4 addresses available for allocation from the IANA to the five RIRs.
“Billions of people world wide use the Internet for everything from sending tweets to paying bills. The transition to IPv6 from IPv4 represents an opportunity for even more innovative applications without the fear of running out of essential Internet IP addresses,” said Vice President of IANA Elise Gerich.
Our depletion counter on the right of this page, now shows how the final blocks are being distributed by the individual regional registries.