North America has finally run out of IPv4 addresses, underlining the pressing need to embrace the IPv6 protocol.
The American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN), one of five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) responsible for managing IPv4 addresses, had warned in July that this situation was likely when it had to reject a request for IPv4 addresses.
Now, it has completely run out of IPv4 addresses from its stock. “On 24 September 2015, ARIN issued the final IPv4 addresses in its free pool,” wrote ARIN chief executive John Curran.
This means anyone requesting new IPv4 addresses will have to be placed on ARIN’s ‘Waiting List for Unmet IPv4 Requests’. They will then have to wait until ARIN receives new addresses from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), has them returned by organisations that no longer need them, or revokes an organisation’s use of an address block.
Because the pool of IPv4 addresses has now run dry, there are no limitations on how often blocks of addresses can be traded.
Axel Pawlik, managing director of the RIR responsible for IPv4 address allocation in Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia, the RIPE NCC, said as a result of this it was likely there would now be an sudden increase in IPv4 address trading.
“We expect that this will result in an increase in IPv4 transfers, but it’s unclear exactly how long this market will last,” he said.
However, he said he hoped there would be a tipping point where it will become more cost effective to move to the new IPv6 standard, rather than trading IPv4 addresses.
"If IPv6 deployment soared overnight, IPv4 addresses would quickly lose their value. Ultimately, when the cost of buying IPv4 addresses becomes more than the cost of deploying IPv6, we will see a major shift towards full adoption of IPv6,” he said.
Pawlik noted that with 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses the IPv6 standard is vital for the development of the next generation of internet technologies, from wearables and driverless cars to the Internet of Things.
“This is an important reminder that IPv6 deployment is essential to safeguard the future growth of the internet. By giving each device a unique IP address, the next generation of internet-based technology is made possible," he said.
Despite the need to embrace IPv6, data from Akamai showed earlier this week that the UK has seen its use of IPv4 addresses actually increase 15 percent year-on-year.
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