on 07-01-201506:14 PM09-03-201502:37 PMEricS
Like the monotonous droning sound of jungle drums so has the repetitive and continual predictions about the exhaustion of world’s supply of public IPv4 address. We have been hearing about the impending scarcity of IPv4 addresses for so long that we don’t hear the calls to action. Today’s announcement by The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) that they have reached IPv4 exhaustion and has now signaled the alarm. Organizations can no longer ignore what the future of the IPv4 Internet may be like, and instead, seize ownership of their own destiny and deploy IPv6.
When the Internet Protocol (IP) was being developed in the 1970s the number of endpoints was quite small. The working being done at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was done with a small set of university research and government systems. The 32-bit addresses used with IPv4 are hierarchically allocated (like phone numbers) and used quad dotted decimal notation for human readability. At the time the Internet Protocol was developed, no one could have possibly predicted the impending popularity of the Internet.
The Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) depleted their free pool of IPv4 address space on February 3, 2011. On that date, all the available IPv4 addresses had been allocated to the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) around the world. Each RIR has had to independently manage their own supply of IPv4 addresses resources. However, each RIR has had a different strategy for their exhaustion stage/phase schedule. Each RIR has had a different policy for how they are effectively managing the allocation of their limited IPv4 resources.
The Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC) was the next RIR to exhaust their supply of IPv4 addresses. This occurred on June 10, 2014 as a result of their growing Internet community. Their member organization continue to grow their Internet access and LACNIC has initiatives around helping their members embark on the IPv6 path.
The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) is the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean and North Atlantic islands. North America has had a large Internet-connected population, but as more systems and organizations have connected to the Internet, ARIN has processed numerous requests for public IPv4 addresses.
ARIN entered Phase 4 of their IPv4 Exhaustion plan on April 23, 2014 and has been operating under their Phase 4 policies since then. During Phase 4, any new request for IPv4 address space is reviewed by the IPv4 Review Team queue where they are reviewed in a first-come first-served basis. ARIN has been managing the IPv4 Request Pipeline as their IPv4 stockpile dwindles. The current IPv4 address inventory is listed on ARIN’s IPv4 depletion page. ARIN has an IPv4 Depletion blog where you can find the latest information on this topic.
Now that IPv4 exhaustion has occurred for ARIN members, the rules for future IPv4 allocations will change. ARIN members can make address requests, but ARIN is likely to not have address supply to meet those requests. Applicants will either be given the choice to accept a smaller block than they requested or get their name added to a waiting list. Applicants can also withdraw their request and chose to acquire their IPv4 addresses from another source. This ARIN web page provides information on the waiting list for unmet IPv4 address requests. These guidelines are published in the Number Resource Policy Manual (NRPM) Section 4.1.8.
The African Network Information Centre (AfriNIC) has a growing Internet population too, but they have not reached exhaustion of their IPv4 address supply. As more of their communities come online their usage of their remaining IPv4 addresses are likely to accelerate.