North America Just Ran Out of Old-School Internet Addresses

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

ARIN: IPv4 Addresses Have Finally Run Dry.

Every computer, phone, and gadget that connects to the Internet has what’s called an Internet Protocol address, or IP address—a kind of numerical name tag for every device online. North America has run out of Internet addresses, or at least IPv4 internet addresses, according to the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the nonprofit organization that manages the distribution of Internet number resources for the region.This means the region can allocate no more of the 32-bit network addresses to web hosting companies, cloud providers, organizations and individuals: they’re all taken.We’ve heard warnings about it for years and now it has finally happened: ARIN, the group responsible for doling out Internet IP addresses across North America, today announced that the available pool of IPV4 addresses has run dry.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the world has been burning through these addresses for years, thanks to the proliferation of connected devices known as the Internet of Things. That won’t affect normal Internet users, but it will put more pressure on Internet service providers, software companies, and large organizations to accelerate their migration to IPv4’s successor, IPv6. In it, Comcast notes that over 15% of Comcast’s Internet traffic is now over IPv6, and over 70% of Comcast broadband customers currently have IPv6-capable gear. “Since Comcast was early to the IPv6 transition process, we are fortunate to be able to support our customers and network partners through the transition,” notes Comcast. According to Akamai’s just-released Q2 2015 State of the Internet report, cable and wireless/mobile providers drove the largest volumes of IPv6 requests – Verizon Wireless (71%); T-Mobile (44%), Comcast (37%), AT&T (35%) and Time Warner Cable (18%).

On a global basis, Belgium’s IPv6 request volume to Akamai led with 38%, followed by Switzerland (23%), the U.S. (19%), Peru and Germany (17%), and Luxembourg (14%). The IPv4 space globally offers 4,294,967,296 network addresses – which seemed like an awful lot back in the 1970s when the internet was coming together. (Not all of those are usable on the public internet as some chunks are reserved. Here’s a description cribbed from a story Stacey Higgibotham wrote a few years back during another IPv4 dearth scare: These addresses tell packets where to go on the web. APNIC, which allocates addresses in Asia-Pacific, ran out of available IPv4 addresses in 2011; RIPE, which oversees Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia, ran out in 2012; and LACNIC, which manages Latin America and the Caribbean, ran dry in 2014.

Regarding Comcast’s IPv6-facing work, he noted that the MSO now has “tens of millions” of cable modems being managed using IPv6-only lltoday, and that less than 5% of cable modems on Comcast’s network now rely on IPv4. In contrast, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, providing 3.4 × 1038 available addresses (roughly 340 undecillion), which should cover the planet’s needs for just a little while longer. So the Internet will need to move to IPv6 addresses, which provide 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607, 431,768,211,456 addresses — enough for web sites, smart grid devices, mobile phones and connected TVs.

Well, the world is moving over to IPv6 networking – some parts of the web are shifting rapidly, while others (including the UK) are dragging their feet. ISPs and companies that have been sluggish about the transition to IPv6 have just received the final bell warning telling them it’s time to get a move on.

What’s new this week is that ARIN says that its North American region really is out of digits this time, and the only solution, is to take the IPv6 plunge. “We are no longer on the last six addresses, we are no longer operating a waiting list. We told everyone we were in at the bottom of the pool and squeegeeing out the last addresses, and now we’re there,” John Curran, president and CEO of ARIN told Fortune. Adding an IPv6 address and connectivity to your own website will bring benefits, he told us, because those networks tend to be less congested and more direct – meaning people at home using IPv6 will reach your IPv6 site faster, typically. “If you have a website on the internet, you’ll want to talk to your hosting provider, and get your servers reachable by IPv6.

In a statement he said: When we designed the Internet 40 years ago, we did some calculations and estimated that 4.3 billion terminations ought to be enough for an experiment. If you’re on an IPv6 network, you can’t browse a site running on a web server that uses only IPv4—such as WIRED’s site—without some sort of compatibility layer in between. Organizations and individuals can transfer their IPv4 addresses to others – indeed, address brokers such as the IPv4 Market Group are going to have a field day. “Effective today, because exhaustion of the ARIN IPv4 free pool has occurred for the first time, there is no longer a restriction on how often organizations may request transfers to specified recipients,” the team told us.

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