ARIN formally notifies CEOs of upcoming IPv4 depletion

By stretch | Monday, May 4, 2009 at 2:19 a.m. UTC

ARIN recently sent a letter to the CEOs of organizations which hold IPv4 addresses in North America to formally notify them of the approaching IPv4 address pool depletion. The letter, available here (PDF), begins:

IP addresses are the numbers behind domain names and are essential to the Internet. In May 2007, the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) advised the Internet community on IP address depletion in what is called Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). At the current rate of consumption, IPv4 will be depleted within the next two years. After that, organizations that need additional IP addresses will need to adopt IPv6, a newer version of the Internet Protocol that provides a much larger pool of address space.

It then goes on to explain that IPv6 should be adopted as soon as possible, and that from this point forward IPv4 space applications will face great scrutiny.

Personally, I don't care for the way this letter is worded. It reads like a letter from the cable company notifying customers of increased rates. Put yourself in the position of a typical CEO or vice president reading this letter, someone unfamiliar with Internet infrastructure, and it's natural to think, "Damn those tech wienies! Because they failed to plan ahead, I have to pay to upgrade my entire network!" Obviously there's a lot more substance to the issue, and there are considerable benefits to be reaped beyond acquiring a greater address space.

Following the quote above, the letter continues, "You should begin planning for IPv6 adoption if you are not doing so already." Seriously? We're well past the point of "you should begin thinking about this" and fast approaching "hope you're ready by now." IPv6 isn't new, and it isn't unexpected. Correspondence from registrars needs to reflect this if there's any hope of instilling a sense of urgency.

Of course, organizations which haven't yet at least formed an IPv6 strategy will be the ones kicking and screaming about the absence of new address space in a few years. But they still won't adopt IPv6. They'll NAT the hell out of their existing infrastructure and resist upgrading to new applications they can't support. In little time they will have spent more mitigating IPv6 than they would have had they adopted it responsibly.

Organizations need to embrace the fact that such an overhaul is a necessity of growth, not a symptom of poor planning. Upgrading IP is not some fabricated service tax, but a recurring operational cost. It's simply not obvious because, with a cycle of roughly forty years, this is the first time it has recurred.

About the Author

Jeremy Stretch is a network engineer living in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area. He is known for his blog and cheat sheets here at Packet Life. You can reach him by email or follow him on Twitter.

Posted in Opinion

Comments


TacAck (guest)
May 4, 2009 at 5:39 a.m. UTC

You're def right about NATting the hell outta their network. It's amazing that most of them ( lotsa IT admins as well as even Cisco Tech's ) still think IPv6's F'ing 20 years away !


raja (guest)
May 4, 2009 at 11:50 a.m. UTC

I read the above article i came to know that IPV4,ARIN etc..I know the little bit about the Ip-Address details on the site http://www.ip-details.com/. In the website all the informations very fast to access.


John Curran (guest)
May 4, 2009 at 12:01 p.m. UTC

Jeremy -

You're 100% correct (in that the letter could be much more ardent in describing the situation), but the language also needs to be balanced for the typical reader and in this case, it's generally a corporate executive who receives letters with very dry language each day. The goal is to educate and inform, not to deride, and the choice to install IPv6 rests ultimately with each organization since it's their resources that pays for this change.

Don't worry though: as we get closer to depletion, these same executives will be hearing a lot more heated discussion of the topic, but it will be coming from within when they find out they can't grow their own networks...

Thanks for the feedback,
/John
Acting President and CEO
ARIN


Chris (guest)
May 4, 2009 at 3:12 p.m. UTC

@raja - dont know if I trust ip-details to much, according to them the US based owned and operated company I work for public IPs are owned and operated out of a company in Mumbai India.


stretch
May 4, 2009 at 3:16 p.m. UTC

@Chris, @raja - I noticed that as well, figured it might be a fluke. I was actually on the fence about even posting the comment because it could be interpreted as blatant promotion for the site.


tacack (guest)
May 4, 2009 at 5:34 p.m. UTC

@John : Why doesn't ARIN implement a policy that major organizations have to adhere to ensure smooth transition from v4 to v6? Because if ARIN decides to act i'm pretty sure the organisations will too. That's just how i feel, personally!


Eric (guest)
May 4, 2009 at 7:42 p.m. UTC

@Stretch, what do you think this real impact of this is? Obviously big ISP type shops and large large networks its an issue. But there are a ton of networks that have less than 512 or even 255 internet facing IP's and that number will be just fine for those networks for a long long long time.

I should be clear that I am not advocating staying with IPv4. =)


ibarrere (guest)
May 4, 2009 at 9:34 p.m. UTC

Nice article!

I've certainly been waiting for it to get a bit more momentum. Maybe ISPs in the US will start rolling out client-facing IPv6 gateways so we don't have to connect through a tunnel-broker.


John Curran (guest)
May 5, 2009 at 8:48 a.m. UTC

@tacack -

"Why doesn't ARIN implement a policy that major organizations have to adhere to ensure smooth transition from v4 to v6? Because if ARIN decides to act i'm pretty sure the organisations will too. That's just how i feel, personally!"

Alas, it doesn't work that way. There is no central authority that can or should dictate business practices for the Internet. All we can do is repeatedly educate organizations and lead them to informed choices.

/John
Acting President and CEO
ARIN


HH (guest)
May 5, 2009 at 9:28 a.m. UTC

John makes a very good point, what you write is for a CEO or management is very different from what you share with your techo mates.


tacack (guest)
May 6, 2009 at 4:45 a.m. UTC

@John .. Thanks for the reply. It's certainly the Wild Wild Web.

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