Thursday, March 17, 2011

IPv4 Internet Addresses Run Out

 As on February 3, 2011, the central pool of IPv4 addresses has been officially exhausted after the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigned the rest of the blocks of address space.
APNIC, which provides internet addressing services to the Asia Pacific region, got in two /8s (33 million addresses) Tuesday which caused them to give out the last five /8s to Regional Internet Registries. ISPs and businesses are quickly using up any and all the IPv4 addresses APNIC is able to give out, so companies in the area are expected to be first in line to be affected by the IPv4 addresses running out.
 The company that tracks the allocation of IPv4 stated 1 February as X-Day or exhaustion day, which brought to mind pictures of Mad Max-style fights over the rest of the available IPv4 addresses.
Actually, this was predicted a long time ago but had stayed a distant prospect until recently due to the use of Network Address Translation (NAT) technology, which meant banks of business PCs all sat behind small ranges of IP addresses. A number of units of internet real estate are still sparingly used, with only about 14 per cent being used, said a study by the University of Southern California, was published on Tuesday.
 John Heidemann, leader of a team at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Information Sciences Institute that carried out the study, said that as soon as the rest of the addresses are gone, there will be pressure to improve the use of them and eventually they will trade areas that are underused.
 However, doing that won’t be an easy task. But in the meantime, a lot of companies will survive by layering NAT devices, but in the long term the solution is to move to IPv6, which is the next generation Internet Protocol.
 Better usage, trading, and other strategies can help get back “twice or four times current usage” of IPv4, says Heidemann, who admitted that trading their way out of trouble will only help for a short period of time. He added that the requests for addresses is twice as much every year, so trading will only help for two years.
 IPv6 will give quite a bit more address space but even though it’s been available for 10 years, many networks don’t support it. If that doesn’t change soon the interweb will become fragmented sometime in the 21st century equivalent of a canals and railways transport system.

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