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Saturday, February 04, 2006


IPv4 & the Black Market

A post to the RIPE NCC address policy working group mailing list from Iljitsch van Beijnum entitled "2005 IPv4 Address Use Report" states:

"According to AfriNIC, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC and RIPE NCC statistics as published on their respective FTP servers, they gave out 165.45 million IPv4 addresses in 2005. Out of 3706.65 million usable IPv4 addresses, 1468.61 million are still available as of januari 1, 2006."

Well, let's see... doing the math... if 1468 million are still available and we are currently exhausting the supply at a rate of 165 million per annum, that would mean about nine years left for IPv4 addresses.

On the other hand, a recent roundtable on the future of IPv4 looked at data and predicted IPv4 space will be depleted sooner than predicted:

"Since 2000, the number of /8s per month has been on a steady accelerating curve. IANA allocated 22 /8s in the 18 months between January 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005. If you go to a flat rate of three-quarters of a /8 per month, seven years of IPv4 space remains. If you hold at the inbound rate to the RIRs and the outbound rates from IANA, it’s about one /8 per month and five years of IPv4 space remaining."

This has raised questions about black market distributions of IPv4. Yes, the subject has been raised at the last ARIN XVI session. One big question is... who stands to profit? The answer might well come from the following statistic: The US holds 60% of the IPv4 address space. Will a black market be developed? Will U.S. firms gouge the developing world when IPv4 is no longer available to be allocated by the RIRs? Will ICANN develop policy to deal with these considerations? My guess: yes, yes, no.

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