Plusnet customers share IP addresses

ISP looks for solution to IPv4 shortage

Nicole Kobie
15 Jan 2013

Plusnet is testing a system to share IP addresses as it looks for solutions for a looming IPv4 shortage.

IPv4 is the current numbering system for issuing IP addresses, but it's running out of space. However, some ISPs aren't ready to switch to IPv6 and some devices don't support the new version.

As a stop-gap solution, Plusnet is running a three-week trial in which volunteer customers will share IPv4 addresses, rather than each having their own.

Plusnet will use a Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT) system, and is looking to find out what apps, services and devices cause trouble. It won't allow customers to host websites or servers, and is expected to cause issues with games.

"Carrier Grade NAT (CGNAT) is similar to the NAT that people use on their home routers," the post on Plusnet's support forums says. "The NAT on your home router lets all the devices on your network (PCs, tablets, phones, consoles etc.) share one IP address."

"What CGNAT does is take that a step further and has several customers sharing one IP address," the post adds. "For most people they will never notice, most mobile operators already use CGNAT and so most applications will just work. The main problem is where you are hosting services on your broadband connection like hosting a website or hosting games (the kind of thing for which you set up port forwarding on your router)."

Plusnet is currently looking for customers willing to test the system, and the trial is set to start at the end of the month.

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