Depletion of IPv4 Addresses and the Rise of IP Leasing

By July 31, 2015IP Addresses, Technology

By: Peter K. Sidorenko, Sago Networks, Manager, Development & Marketing

The internet has become a factor in our everyday lives. It is all around us, many of the devices we encounter each day, such as computers, tablets, phones, watches, cars, satellites and a thousand more devices, are connected to the Internet.

In the early days, most people just used the Internet to search for information. Today’s Internet is a constantly evolving tool that not only contains an amazing variety of information but that also provides new ways of accessing, interacting, and connecting with people and content.

When most people think of the Internet, the first thing they think about is the World Wide Web. Today, the terms “Internet” and “World Wide Web” are often used interchangeably but they’re actually not the same thing.

The Internet is the physical network of millions of “computers” all over the world. The World Wide Web is a virtual network of websites connected by hyperlinks (or “links”). Websites are stored on servers on the Internet, so the World Wide Web is a part of the Internet. Facebook, Youtube, Google, Ebay, Hotmail, Yahoo and Craigslist are all examples of companies that have internet websites.

Now, each computer or device connected to the Internet must have a unique IP (Internet Protocol) address in order to communicate with any other systems on the Internet. IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) is the most widely used version of the Internet Protocol addressing schemes. It defines IP addresses in a 32-bit format, which looks like the familiar Each three-digit section can include a number from 0 to 255, which means the total number of IPv4 addresses available is 4,294,967,296 (256 x 256 x 256 x 256) or 2^32.

Now that sounds like a good basic concept for a network design, but when you consider that there are over 6 billion people in the world and many people have more than one system connected to the Internet (for example, at home, school, work, etc.), it is not surprising that roughly 4.3 billion addresses are not going to be enough.

 Who is in charge?

One of the major milestones of IPv4 depletion was in February 2011 when the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) issued their final /8 blocks to each of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) where each “/8” (pronounced “slash 8”) corresponds to 16,777,216 unique address values.

Each RIR operates as a not-for-profit, member-based association in its respective region in accordance with the laws of the country in which it is located. The five RIRs are as follows: AFRINIC (established 2005, serving Africa and based in Mauritius), APNIC (established 1993, serving Asia Pacific region and based in Australia), ARIN (established 1997, serving the United States, Canada, many Caribbean and North Atlantic islands and based in the United States), LACNIC (established 2002, serving Latin America and the Caribbean and based in Uruguay) and the RIPE NCC (established 1992, serving Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East and based in The Netherlands).

Within the ARIN region, depletion status varies depending on the needs of an organization. For some larger organizations in the ARIN region, their IPv4 address space needs going forward may exceed the amount they can currently obtain from ARIN’s remaining inventory, i.e., depletion has effectively already occurred for these organizations. For others, depletion will very soon become a reality.

At the time of this post (July 2015), ARIN holds only /24 blocks in the ARIN IPv4 free pool inventory. It is expected the ARIN IPv4 free pool inventory will deplete in full sometime around the late August of 2015 timeframe.

Starting in August, ARIN will publish the Waiting List for Unmet Requests on the ARIN public website. The information will be displayed on a dedicated page for the waiting list and will include the full waiting list order based on date/timestamp placement, qualified block sizes, and minimum acceptable block sizes.

Organizations are currently electing to accept block sizes smaller than those for which they qualified or are electing to be placed on the Waiting List for Unmet Requests. So far, 21 organizations have elected to be placed on the waiting list and ARIN expects there to be over 100 very soon.

How did this happen so fast?

Prior to the creation of the RIRs, large allocations (normally a /8 or an incredible 1/256th of the entire internet) were handed out much like candy to children, primarily to companies and universities involved with the creation of the internet.  Did MIT expect to one day have 1/256th of 4.3 billion computers on its campus?

Why did these organizations accept and why do they refuse to give back these allocations that have crippled the rest of the internet?  The answer is simple – there’s no incentive to take exactly what you need and there’s no incentive to give back any extra space in your inventory.  If anything, there’s a disincentive to do so as it may cripple your unexpected growth in the future.

The solution is simple:

Indeed it is, monetizing IP space is the only way to maintain the IPv4 pool until the next generation addressing scheme, IPv6 is implemented. This isn’t an academic argument anymore it’s a reality that is upon us. A solution must be found to keep the internet functioning and to keep the growing number of end users connected to the internet.

For the next couple of years the IP leasing market does buy the internet some time. Several companies, including Sago Networks with their website portal provides an immediate alternative to the Unmet Waiting List or IPv6 implementation. Sago Networks provides its customers with quality technical support and multiple IP leasing options, such as:

Short/Long Term IP Leasing:

If you have a project with short term needs we can support you with flexible leasing agreements.  Are you migrating a network or consolidating your infrastructure?

Need to grow your network? Sago Networks can support long term leasing arrangements with decreasing payment schedules to meet your budget.

Whether you need a block of 8 IPs for a week or 32,000 IPs for a year or more, Sago Networks can design an IP leasing package that reflects your specific needs.

Responsible Oversight:

Our technical support teams are active in every IP leasing agreement, fully researching and vetting our customers, so you can be confident that our IP space is unspoiled. New and clean used IP’s are available.  |  |

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