Asia gets IPv4 breather

Summary:The Asia-Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) has received two large blocks of IPv4 addresses with another promised to it, giving businesses in the region that are in the midst of their IPv6 migration somewhat of a breather. However, this is mere respite and the agency is urging the internet community to heed its migration call.

The Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) has received two large blocks of IPv4 addresses with another promised, giving businesses in the region that are in the midst of their IPv6 migration somewhat of a breather.

Binary ball

(Binary ball image, by Martin, CC BY-SA 2.0)

However, this is mere respite and the agency is urging the internet community to heed its migration call.

According to an IDG News Service report, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) had given the last two on-demand lots of addresses to APNIC on Monday because of its rapid rate of handing out web addresses.

This, in turn, leaves the IANA with just five blocks of addresses, which activates a rule that compels the IANA to allocate one block to each of the Regional Internet Registries (RIR) — one of which is APNIC — within the next few days, according to the report.

The RIRs will then funnel these addresses down to internet service providers (ISPs) and companies within their respective regions. Each block contains 16 million addresses, IDG stated.

Migration gripes

Predictions and warnings about the dwindling of IPv4 addresses have been going on for years, but the challenges of transitioning to IPv6 have held back progress, according to analysts.

Ovum's senior consultant Craig Skinner said that one reason for IPv6's lack of popularity is compatibility problems between the two protocols. He pointed out that IPv6 had been deployed as early as 1999, but its lack of take-up is because it is not able to support its predecessor.

"This makes the transition difficult and it will therefore be necessary to simultaneously maintain IPv4 and IPv6 for many years and to provide solutions for interworking during the transition period," he said.

Additionally, an earlier report revealed that countries and organisations are less than keen about migrating to the new protocol due to the high costs involved and its lack of vision for future internet development.

"IPv6 addresses were designed as the solution to the predicted shortage of IPv4 addresses, but as an industry, it has been easier to extend usage of IPv4 rather than undergo the challenge of transitioning to IPv6," Skinner said.

Technologies such as dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) and network address translators (NATs), which allow for sharing of public IP addresses within a pool of users, have helped in prolonging IPv4's longevity, Skinner said.

There are limitations to these technologies, though.

NATs, for instance, can break the end-to-end communications principle of the internet, causing complications for developers, particularly those working in Voice over Internet Protocol, video conferencing and peer-to-peer, according to Ovum.

As such, APNIC said migration to IPv6, painful though it might be, is still the most viable option to maintain the internet's well-being.

"IPv6 is the only means available for the sustained ongoing growth of the internet, and we urge all members of the internet industry to move quickly towards its deployment," APNIC said.

Via ZDNet Asia.

Topics: Browser, Broadband, Networking

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