Internet Governance 7 November 2012

IPv4 Scarcity

By Rolando RodriguezGuest Author

We all know the IPv4 scarcity that the entire world is facing right now. It was last year that the central pool of     IPv4 addresses  (IANA) gave out the last 16.7 million of available IPv4 addresses.

And it is of great concern the path that the IPv4 address allocation is taking nowadays based on the fact that there are actually no more IPv4 blocks for the RIRs to demand to the IANA.

So is it possible that an IPv4 black market actually arises?. Would an ISP stop its growing for the lack of IPv4 address? Or will they walk forward and migrate their clients and costumer needs to the new protocol, IPv6?.

What it is true, is that the IPv6 penetration has been very slow , actually, it is known that many service providers are inventing new manners to recycle IPv4 addresses to save as possible their current IPv4 resources.

Today I had the opportunity to assist to workshop #76, “What is the best response to IPv4 scarcity? Exploring a global number market  for IPv4”, led by Milton L. Mueller, the author of “Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance” and by Geoff Huston, Chief Scientist at APNIC, with the participation of other personalities such as Paul Vixie (author of several RFCS), Bill Smith from Paypal, among others.

The workshop was really short in terms of time, but it was very notable the importance of the matters being discussed.

The first issue discussed was the need of ARIN’s “Needs assessment” when it comes to the IPv4 transfer market, since it has been proved that companies are willing to pay even more, to avoid the ARIN needs assessment and expand the time horizon provided by this last one (check the following link, for information about the $7.5M purchase of Nortel IPv4 addresses

At this moment, the debate ended up in a poll (in which Mr. Milton L. Muller claimed that the information from the poll would only be used to know the inclination and opinion of the participants of of the workshop), causing Mr. Bill Smith from paypal deciding not participate since he disagreed with the way the poll questions were redacted.

The results were the following (need review, since I don’t have the means to validate this information, since at that moment my computer ran out of battery and had to switch to manual writing)

A.1 Needs assessment are not needed at all 9 votes

A.2 Needs assessments are needed to prevent speculation. 6 votes

A3. We should search for another party to be implementing the needs assessment process. 9  votes

A.4 None of the above 1 vote

A.5 Abstention 0 votes

There was a draw in this poll. It is important to mention that votes from people around the world connected via internet to the workshop were considered, a clear demonstration of the multi stake holders model that defines the IGF.

After this poll, another issue was discussed, “the accuracy of post-transaction records”, that I particularly consider very important, based on the fact that there are millions of IPv4 address that were allocated before the RIR existence (check the following link for a little bit more of information about this

This discussion ended with another poll with the following results:

C.1 RIRs should update legacy transactions based on legal proof of registry (including ARIN’s fees) . 5 votes

C.2 RIRs should not update their records unless receiving party signs a contract and conforms to RIR policies. 2 votes

And just after this poll finished, the workshop time was over.

I really hope I can provide some more information on my next post, but these are just a quick notes I took at the workshop.

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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