IPv4 Exhaustion Announcement

By stretch | Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 9:41 p.m. UTC

If you follow the news at all, you have heard by now that we are out of IPv4 addresses. This isn't technically true just yet; not for a few more hours at least.

Up until now, the five regional Internet registries (RIRs) of the world have periodically requested additional IPv4 space from the global pool managed by IANA based on demand from downstream organizations. On January 31, IANA allocated two of the seven remaining /8 address blocks to APNIC, the RIR for the Asia-Pacific region, per the established process. This triggered an ICANN policy which mandates that the five remaining /8 blocks must now be allocated regardless of demand, one to each of the five RIRs, to help mitigate a rush on the remaining address space.

This second phase of the exhaustion policy hasn't yet been executed, but will be very soon. Probably tomorrow, as a "significant announcement" will be made jointly by the NRO, ICANN, ISOC, and IAB.

On Thursday, 3 February 2011, at 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST) [14:30 UTC /GMT], the Number Resource Organization (NRO), along with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) will be holding a ceremony and press conference to make a significant announcement and to discuss the global transition to the next generation of Internet addresses.

Much has been written in the international media over the last few weeks about the dwindling pool of Internet addresses using the original Internet protocol, called IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4), and this topic will be addressed at the event.

The announcement will be streamed live at http://www.nro.net/news/icann-nro-live-stream starting 1430 UTC/0930 EST. I strongly suggest watching the announcement, as it is a rare opportunity to consciously participate in Internet history.

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 News


February 2, 2011 at 10:13 p.m. UTC

I'm curious how long it will be until corporations and the general public will actually feel this?

February 2, 2011 at 11:19 p.m. UTC

Here's a neat graph which shows the probability of exhaustion dates per RIR. Current estimates show APNIC running out before the end of 2011, with RIPE and ARIN following shortly thereafter in 2012.

February 2, 2011 at 11:40 p.m. UTC

Just a comment on Geoff Huston's RIR exhaustion graph, this shows when the RIRs hit their final /8. APNIC and RIPE have policies for the final /8 that limit member LIRs to only one allocation (/21 in RIPE region, /22 in APNIC). This means that the RIRs will still have IPv4 addresses in their pool for another 5 years or so, but will only be allocating them to new entrants onto the market.

Estimates are that some ISPs will start to run out around 3 months after their RIRs. None of the projections account for the possibility of a run on addresses.

When ISPs run low they will need to make their existing allocations stretch further. Expect increasing levels of NAT on consumer Internet connections.

February 3, 2011 at 11:43 a.m. UTC

I think what will drive this thing faster then we expect! Everything is online nowadays! But I agree that the use of NAT will increase too.

timmi (guest)
February 3, 2011 at 2:35 p.m. UTC

A bit laggy... also on your side guys?

February 3, 2011 at 8:08 p.m. UTC

Is the video of the announcement available somewhere? Or is there a transcript?

February 3, 2011 at 9:30 p.m. UTC

I would like to see a video or transcript if there was one.

February 5, 2011 at 4:02 p.m. UTC

There's a slightly edited recording of the event on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9AzSl2MdFk

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