Caleb Tennis IPv4 addresses coming to an end

December 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

For a couple of years now, various pundits have been claiming the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses and the need to migrate to IPv6 relatively quickly. ¬†This has been a slow process for most, for many reasons, but mostly because it’s tough to change a system that isn’t “broken”.

The exact date of address exhaustion varies.  Hurricane Electric is predicting about 12 weeks to go. The ticker below, provided by inetcore, indicates about the same level.

To be clear, however, this date doesn’t mean the end of IPv4. It just means that new IPv4 addresses to be assigned to organizations that will in turn hand them out to end users, are starting to run short. ARIN, the body that oversees the assignment of addresses, is running out of blocks of addresses to be given out.

Some people are already starting to see those effects. A recent post to the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) indicates some of the issue. A customer was recently assigned a block of IP addresses, 107.7.0.0/16, by ARIN for their organization. However, only recently was that block of IP addresses considered a “valid” block by ARIN – previously it would have been considered unassigned. Many operators put filters in place on their routers to block traffic from unassigned IP addresses to limit bogus traffic and DDoS attempts. If these operators leave these filters in place, then their customers are not going to be able to reach these network spaces as they become valid – a problem for some.

Other problems exist too. The block of 5.0.0.0/8 IP space has been listed as RESERVED for a long time. Thus, it was not assigned to any particular organization. Hamachi/LogMeIn took advantage of this fact to create a widespread VPN product that utilized this IP space, knowing it would not conflict with existing IP addresses as 5.X.X.X addresses were not being utilized. However, in November this space was allocated to RIPE, which means that these addresses will start being handed out very soon. People using the VPN product will now start running into IP address routing issues, and those who have blocked this space as being invalid will start having issues once valid customers begin using this space.

The transition to IPv6, while slow, will definitely start picking up over the next 6 months as the lack of IPv4 space becomes more and more of an issue. The only question is, what real world impact will it have to the end user experience – if any?

Feel free to contact us to learn more about our IPv4/IPv6 implementation and adoption plan and how we can help your organization benefit from our data center services.

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