Availablity of IPv4 addresses

Paul Wilson (APNIC) just gave the presentation on the behalf of Geoff Huston at Dubai RIPE-NCC meeting here. The research is sponsored by APNIC and the answer, well, you know what to expect from Geoff.

By considerating (a) the rate of IANA allocation (b) the rate of RIRs allocation (c) BGP tables on allocated but unused address (d) IPv4 address holded by RIRs, Geoff did two projection.

The first projection is based on an exponential growth of IPv4 addresses and he conclude that IANA will run out of IPv4 in 2020, RIRs in 2022 and we can continue until 2028 (with allocated by unused addresses).

The second projection based on straight line growth, he conclude that IANA will run out of IPv4 in 2034 and RIRs in 2037.I feel that research is well done but it did not take into consideration (a) the advance of technology and (b) the profilteration of private addresses and NATs.

The world has change a lot in the last 10 years. 10 years ago, not many people heard of Internet. The music industry are big, happy, never heard of Napster, and havent gone around suing individuals. The telcos’ profit margin is still high and never would imaging the competitors like Yahoo! BB or Vonage. 10 years is a long time and the future will be very different, not to mention 20 years.

The other thing is that this research has not taken the private addresses into consideration. The profilteration of NATs have slowdown many innovative applications on the Internet, particularly things like SIP, P2P etc. We need end-to-end model back into the Internet if we want to see more applications beyond what we have. Emails, Web, P2P, etc are all invented at the times when the we still have end-to-end and the Internet has not NATified.

We have to bring back stupid network (as advocated by David Isenberg).

While no one knows how many machines are connected to the Internet using private address through a NAT, I am sure the availibity of addresses would be very different if everyone has an unique IP addresses.

Nevertheless, I agree with Paul conclusion that RIRs should consider relaxing their IP addresses allocation. For many years, RIRs have been pretty strict on IP address allocation on the perspection that IP address is going to run out and created a sense of scarity in IP addresses pushing many administrators to deploy NAT rather then arguing with RIRs to get the IP address they need. This got to be change.

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