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By GCN Staff

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IPv4 addresses dwindle by the day

The available supply of IPv4 Internet addresses for the United States, Canada and the North Atlantic region is expected to be exhausted within roughly the next two years, based on current projections.

That’s according to data supplied by the American Registration for Internet Numbers and a widget now freely available from Intec NetCore.

The widget, which can be found in the right navigation panel on GCN.com's IPv6 portal page of GCN.com, displays the number of days remaining before ARIN is expected to run out of available IPv4 addresses. As of March 30, the number of days had dwindled to 786. ARIN is one of the five regional Internet registries in the world.

Of course, there are a virtually limitless number of new IPv6 addresses available. However, because users in the United States have grown accustomed to an abundance of the old-format addresses, most organizations have taken only tentative steps in preparing for the longer and more versatile IPv6 addresses.

Many organizations, however, may find themselves at a sudden global disadvantage when the market swings toward a more fully functional IPv6 era.

The cost of developing and maintaining systems that can efficiently process both address formats will ultimately prove costly, says Brad Boston, Cisco System’s senior vice president of global government solutions.

He notes that organizations and government agencies — especially those who depend on global supply chain logistics to run their operations — may one day find themselves becoming IPv4 islands in an IPv6-driven world.

In the meantime, GCN readers can keep an eye on the approaching day of reckoning.

Posted by Wyatt Kash on Mar 30, 2009 at 9:03 AM

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Reader Comments

Mon, Apr 6, 2009 CCIE

Ah more of the Y2K type hyperventilating flimflam about "days of reckoning". Nonsense, IPv4 is not able to fall over and we aren't running out of IPs. For example, this article talks about ARIN running out HYPOTHETICALLY in 2 years. There are at least two things wrong with extrapolating from that that the "day of reckoning" is coming - there are 4 other registries, the timeline is an ESTIMATE and that assumes that ALL the IPv4 space is being USED. But hey! Why let facts stand in the way of the head long charge to something shiny and neato when you can just try and scare people with made up nonsense. Look if IPv6 was so badass it would be in widespread use already - and THATS WHY ITS NOT. It doesn't solve a problem anyone has, it creates new problems (oh yes, yes it does, deny it all you want) and it costs money to roll it out. Will we be using at some point? Sure, in the same way that some day you will get wet in the rain, prepare for it - its gonna happen, but why run into the rain right now? Let the early adopters waste all their money working out the bugs while the smart people sit back and let those early adopters drive down the costs. And yes, rant all you want - the market has spoken. It doesn't care, IPv6 delivers only one positive thing: 96 more bits - and a lot of costs and risks. And right now, the market doesn't need either.

Mon, Apr 6, 2009 freddo

John Walley - IPSec works just fine with IPv4, not new to IPv6. There are only enough v4 addresses, even if you reclaim the other 96%, to deal with a fraction of the potential requirement as places like China and India come online. Most equipment has been largely IPv6 capable for years, and most corporate kit gets cycled every three to four years anyway. Hundreds of problems? IPv4 has hundreds of problems too, we are just so used to them that we don't remark on them any more. Mobility? Mobility as we have it now is a joke - real mobility, as IPv6 offers, means things like having your website (or maybe several) hosted on your own mobile phone. IPv6 means you can offer services from your home or roaming laptop, not just be a passive consumer. Most of all, IPv6 offers the potential for new stuff, new ways of doing things, ways that are just not possible in a world of NAT and address scarcity. IPv6? Bring it on! Can't be too soon...

Thu, Apr 2, 2009 chuck

Don't hold back John, what do you really think?

Tue, Mar 31, 2009 David Green http://www.commandinformation.com/blog/?cat=15

As the IPv4 free address pool continues to dwindle, enterprises will have to deal with a series of inconvenient “bandaids” that affect service availability, quality, and cost, as we try to extend the life of IPv4 while upgrading to IPv6 hosts, services, and routing. The use of network translators and proxies, and NATing carrier cores ala “Carrier Grade NAT” will likely be a necessary evil, but this will cause us to break and reengineer many services that today rely on carrier’s ability to provide end-to-end addressing - such as “server-push” messaging to Blackberrys and smart phones. Another scheme to buy IPv4 more time is reclaiming poorly used IPv4 address spaces to split up and redistribute the existing large IPv4 address blocks through some sort of trading market. According to the IPv4 Address Report this measure could buy us up to and additional year and 4 months and scale IPv4 address assignments into 2012. The downside is that this splitting and redistributing will at best “de-aggregate” core routing, causing routers to look through millions of addresses to decide where to route a packet, and slowing down the performance of key services like VOIP and video over the Internet. If the Internet core works poorly, carrier edge networks and enterprise networks will essentially become islands with poor connectivity (or expensive connectivity!) between them lowering the availability, performance and customer experience for services that users access across the Internet.

Tue, Mar 31, 2009 John Walley

That's funny. Seeing that less than 4% of those "used up" IPv4 addresses are being used on the internet today. (And that is on the decline not an incline) The problem isn't technology or the fact that we don't have enough IPv4 addresses. It's a management issue. ARIN doesn't know how to say "use it or lose it". That would fix this complex technical problem. Oh wait I guess the better solution would be to spend Billions of dollars on rebuilding the internet as we know it today and push out a protocol that is scary as hell and brings literally hundreds of problems to the table. Yeah, yeah, and we could sell it as an upgrade offering things like mobility (that's something we don't have today...When was the last time your cell phone worked?) roaming access to our financial data from anywhere in the world. Hey wait, no way to track who is doing what due to IPSec used in poisonous ways. Now there is an idea! Even the child pornographers will have anonymity with no checks and balances. End to End baby! Hey what's not good about that. No backwards compatibility either. Who cares that the federal government will need to replace over half of their equipment. Just think. All of us consultants will get a piece of the pie. I like it! Oh well, I can see why this would be a hard decision though. I mean, having ARIN and the other registers properly manage the IPv4 addresses would be ludicrous request. After all, it is their job. This is such a joke.

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