One more step along the road to IPv4 depletion happened today when the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) reached the last block of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses in its available pool, activating a major change in regional delegation policy.This event is a key turning point in IPv4 exhaustion for the Asia Pacific, as the remaining IPv4 space will be ‘rationed’ to network operators to be used as essential connectivity with next-generation IPv6 addresses. All new and existing APNIC Members who meet the current allocation criteria will be entitled to a maximum delegation of a /22 (1,024 addresses) of IPv4 space.APNIC Director General Paul Wilson explained the Asia Pacific region is the first to reach the point of being unable to meet IPv4 demand. This is due to the unprecedented fixed and mobile network growth the region is experiencing.”Considering the ongoing demand for IP addresses, this date effectively represents IPv4 exhaustion for many of the current operators in the Asia Pacific region,” Wilson said. “From this day onwards, IPv6 is mandatory for building new Internet networks and services.””The Asia Pacific region must quickly become the leader in IPv6 deployment so that it can maintain strong Internet growth rates in large maturing economies such as India and China. Smaller economies, such as some Pacific Island nations, are already showing high rates of IPv6 delegations.””We are well on the way to being the first ‘IPv6-enabled region’, but we have to keep the momentum strong. ISPs in the Asia Pacific must begin transition plans if they have not already done so.””IPv4 exhaustion has been identified as a key turning point for a long time, and it should come as no surprise. Any organization that wishes to remain viable must push forward with their IPv6 deployment.”The demand for IP addresses has skyrocketed in recent years with the growth of internet-connected devices such as smartphones.”The most logical reason probably sits in your pocket,” writes Geoff Huston on his Potaroo blog. “The marketing of mobile internet services, headlined by technologies such as Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms, is now firmly in the phase of mainstream consumer marketing. Given that mobile services represent a higher potential average revenue per user over wired broadband services, the future direction of the mass market Internet will be determined by the architectural and technical choices taken by mobile services in the coming years, and the wireline broadband services will probably further diminish in value and relative importance to the overall direction of the Internet.”Huston notes that there were around 90 to 100 million mobile IP devices sold in 2010, “headlined by technologies such as Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms”, which represented “a significant proportion of the internet’s service growth for the coming year.” Huston asks “if some 100 million new mobile services were activated in 2010, what can we expect in 2011? Ever higher numbers, such as 150 million or 200 million? Or maybe not, because the other factor here is that of the looming scarcity of IPv4 addresses.”With this use of IPv4 addresses, Huston predicts that APNIC will be the first Regional Internet Registry “to exhaust its entire pool of unallocated IPv4 addresses … in mid 2011. The RIPE NCC and ARIN are currently projected to exhaust their available supplies of IPv4 addresses in 2012.”But with no way to accurately predict IPv4 demand and the exhaustion date, APNIC has been publishing daily updates on the status of the IPv4 pool to keep the community fully informed. The implementation of a three-phase management plan would also guarantee absolute fairness in the final stages of IPv4 exhaustion.Phase One led up to the exhaustion of the IANA global IPv4 pool, which occurred on 4 February 2011. During that time, no changes in allocation policy or procedure were made and allocations were processed as usual, according to demonstrated need.While Phase Two did not introduce any new policies, APNIC Member Services amended their evaluation and allocation procedures to ensure all requests were dealt with in strict order of receipt and to ensure fair processing.Phase Three involves a policy change that restricts the amount of IPv4 address space available to each applicant. Agreed on by the Asia Pacific Internet community, the Final /8 Policy conserves the remaining IPv4 address blocks to support the region’s transition to IPv6. Without that block of IPv4 space, new network operators would find it difficult, or impossible, to connect to the Internet, even with large IPv6 address allocations available from APNIC.Mr Wilson said the intention is to provide both new and existing Members with a single allocation from the Final /8. As the APNIC region is home to many developing economies, this policy will conserve adequate space for new entrants to the regional and global market.”Economic activity in the Asia Pacific continues to gain momentum. The high rate of new entrants to the Internet industry is still increasing, and under this policy these newcomers will always have access to enough IPv4 address space to begin operations in today’s market,” Mr Wilson said.A second benefit of the Final /8 Policy is that it provides additional IPv4 address space to facilitate the transition to IPv6. Networks will need to support both IPv6 and IPv4 for many years to ensure their customers do not experience service disruptions.During the past few years leading up to this point, APNIC has been actively involved in the promotion of regional IPv6 deployment, supported by extensive Liaison and Training programs.Paul Wilson said IPv6 deployment requires involvement from the broader stakeholder community, including government, commercial, and civil society representatives across the region.”It’s important for every stakeholder group to be involved in regional IPv6 deployment, because there are many different aspects to the project,” Wilson said.In recent years, APNIC has developed a comprehensive program to support IPv6 activities throughout the region, including capacity building, infrastructure support, and especially, spreading awareness.APNIC Senior IPv6 Program Specialist Miwa Fujii has attended several regional forums to speak to non-technical stakeholders about IPv6 deployment, including the past three APEC TEL meetings.”We have been very successful working with high-level ministerial representatives in these forums, and they recognize the necessity of IPv6 deployment as a requisite to other regional goals, such as universal broadband access. We see the evidence of this in the fact that a majority of governments in the Asia Pacific region have IPv6 initiatives supporting their local technical communities,” Ms Fujii said.
The dwindling supply of IPv4 addresses is the subject of a “significant announcement” to be made this Thursday involving the ICANN CEO, NRO Chair and ISOC President and CEO. The event, a news conference will also discuss the global transition to the next generation of Internet addresses, IPv6.The announcement follows press coverage over the last few weeks about the dwindling pool of IPv4 addresses, the original Internet protocol, and the release of two IPv4 address blocks that were allocated to the Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Registry (RIR), APNIC earlier this week.
The news conference will be held on Thursday, 3 February 2011, at 09:30 US Eastern Standard Time (EST) or 15:00 UTC at the InterContinental Hotel and Resort – Miami.For more information see icann.org/en/news/advisories/advisory-01feb11-en.pdf or www.nro.net/news/icann-nro-live-stream
With the handing out of two large blocks of IPv4 addresses to the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre, a rule has been activated that sees the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority allocating the last of the IPv4 addresses.These IP addresses, as explained by the Wall Street Journal, “are numerical labels that direct online traffic to the right location, similar to the way a letter makes its way through the postal system. Such routing is generally invisible to users — when they type in www.facebook.com, for instance, they are actually connected to a computer located at the numerical address 184.108.40.206. It is those numbers that are in dwindling supply.”When the addressing system for the internet was developed in the 1970s, IPv4 was introduced that allowed for about 4.3 billion possible addresses, which was deemed to be more than adequate. However with the number of devices connecting to the internet skyrocketing over the years, something that was difficult to foresee, the available addresses have been depleted to almost none.For example, the number of available addresses has dropped from more than one billion in June 2006 to just 117 million in December 2010, according to the American Registry for Internet Numbers, reported the Wall Street Journal. With the adoption of IPv6 addresses, there is an almost unlimited supply of addresses.The addresses allocated this week were the final allocation made by IANA under the current framework and will trigger the final distribution of five /8 blocks, one to each RIR under the agreed “Global policy for the allocation of the remaining IPv4 address space”.This policy sees one of each the five remaining blocks allocated by the IANA to each of the Regional Internet Registries. After these final allocations, APNIC noted in an announcement that each RIR will continue to make allocations according to their own established policies.APNIC expects normal allocations to continue for a further three to six months. After this time, APNIC will continue to make small allocations from the last /8 block, guided by section 9.10 in “Policies for IPv4 address space management in the Asia Pacific region”. This policy ensures that IPv4 address space is available for IPv6 transition.It is expected that these allocations will continue for at least another five years.For future internet use and the growth of the internet, it is imperative that all members of the internet industry to move quickly towards the deployment of IPv6 addresses.For more information, see:
ICANN, ISOC and the International Chamber of Commerce have joined seven other groups in sending a letter to the United’ Nations’ Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) expressing surprise and strong opposition to a government-only model for participation and consultation in working group whose mission is to study improvements to the Internet Governance Forum. The letter was signed by ten organisations in total.The signatories to the letter “ask the Secretary-General of the United Nations to set up a working group on Internet governance, in an open and inclusive process that ensures a mechanism for the full and active participation of governments, the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries, involving relevant intergovernmental and international organizations and forums, to investigate and make proposals for action…”The letter is a direct response to a decision by the CSTD on Monday last to form a working group to study internet improvements that would be made up only of “member states,” which means that such a body would not only exclude all non-governmental entities, such as business and technology organisations, but also limit participation of governments that are not members of the CSTD.In the letter, the signatories call for the UN “to retract the decision of 7 December, and to establish an appropriately constituted Working Group consistent with the WSIS formulation ensuring ‘the full and active participation of governments, the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries, involving relevant intergovernmental and international organizations and forums.'”However not all government’s support the UN move. Maria Häll, who represents the Swedish government at the ITU and ICANN, told the Global Internet Business Coalition that she felt “very embarrassed” by the CSTD’s decision and assured attendees that many governments were committed to the multi-stakeholder process. The GIBC also notes comments from a Brazilian foreign ministry representative who put the decision down to a lack of co-ordination between the “G77″” groups of governments, explaining that the meeting in question was unexpected and called at 6pm.The outgoing head of the IGF secretariat, Markus Kummer, was another to express frustration with the move according to the GIBC.The full list of organisations signing the letter are:
- Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)
- Association for Competitive Technology
- Australian Domain Name Administration (AuDA)
- East African Internet Governance Forum
- International Chamber of Commerce – Business Action to Support the Information Society
- Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
- Internet Governance Caucus
- Internet Society
The full text of the letter can be seen at www.igcaucus.org/node/48.The Global Internet Business Coalition posting can be seen at gibc.biz/2010/12/internet-organisations-furious-over-government-only-igf-decision.