IPv4 blocks to run out by end of year

There are now only seven blocks of IPv4 addresses left in the global pool, and five are already allocated.

IPv4 blocks to run out by end of year

Last night, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) doled out two blocks each to a pair of regional internet registries (RIRs) – the American Registry for Internet Numbers and RIPE NCC, which manages Europe and the Middle East – leaving only seven blocks, called /8s, of IPv4 addresses remaining.

“We know there is a policy in place that tells IANA to allocate the last five /8s equally between the five RIRs,” explained Axel Pawlik, the managing director of RIPE NCC. “That means there’s two /8s, which we all think will go to APNIC [the regional internet registry for the Asia Pacific].”

“We don’t know how quickly they’ll go, but we do see that the Asian market is growing quickly,” he added. “When precisiely that will happen there’s no way to say, but privately I’m thinking maybe it will be before Christmas.”

Once the blocks are allocated to RIRs, it’s only a matter of time until the registries run out of IPv4 addresses to hand out. “The current numbers say that will happen at the end of 2011, but I think there’s a gut feeling everywhere that with the acceleration in growth, that might move forward,” Pawlik said. “It’s a matter of a few big requests to us, and that will happen a bit quicker.”

That has lead to renewed calls to switch to IPv6, the successor to IPv4. “It’s a consistent message,” Pawlik said. “It’ll happen next year, it’ll happen sooner than we think, so get ready.”

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