Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

Summary: Companies are beginning to sell IPv4 addresses as the IPv4 address pool finishes drying up.

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TOPICS: Networking, Browser
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I predicted that IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) hungry companies would start shopping for IPv4 addresses and a market would be created. I was right. As part of Nortel's bankruptcy settlement, Microsoft has offered to buy Nortel 666,624 IPv4 addresses for $7.5 million (PDF Link).

Making this call didn't require me to be a Nostradamus. It's basic free-market economics. Internet IPv4 addresses are now in short supply and with no more ever coming down the pike and the demand for Internet addresses increasing it was only a matter of time and dollars. Of course, everyone should be switching over to IPv6, but given a choice between buying their way--for a while anyway--out of a problem or investing in a major network infrastructure, Microsoft, at least, is going for the buy option. It won't be the only one.

That's really rather odd since Microsoft in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 actually does an excellent job of not just supporting IPv6, but building on top of it. For example, if you use both on your network, it's really easy to set up Web-address based network Quality of Service (QoS) management.

Be that as it may, Microsoft is paying $11.25 per IPv4 address. The deal was put together for Nortel by Addrex. This rather mysterious company is one of the first, but most certainly not the last, IPv4 address brokers.

The Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) may be getting into the act as well. In a Government Computer News interview, John Curran, president and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, (ARIN) said, "We don't expect that to heat up for another six months or so, because we still have IPv4 address space," but come that day, ARIN will be setting up a "legitimate market" for addresses.

So what kind of market do we have now? Black? Gray? Polka dot!? Good question. Buyers, sellers and the RIRs are still working out what will be good answers.

IP addresses are virtual property, but ARIN has its own set of rules on how they can be transferred. A buyer has to show that they need the addresses and can only sell a year's supply at a time. As for the price, Curran said. "ARIN is not a party to that. That's between you and the recipient." Of course ARIN isn't the only Internet RIR and they may set other stricter or looser rules and conditions.

ARIN or no ARIN I think we're in for a brief--no more than two years-of wild and woolly IPv4 address trading. After that, we'll be well on our way to the IPv6-based Internet and we won't have to worry about running out of addresses until the Federation of Planets' interstellar Internet has been set up.

See Also:

Don’t Panic! It’s only the Internet running out of Addresses

Real Help for your Network’s IPv6 Transition

Use IPv6 in Windows 7 Today

Easy Network Quality of Service Management for Windows Users

Topics: Networking, Browser

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16 comments
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  • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

    Steven - To be clear, ARIN will recognize any transfer of address space that meets the policies developed by the community. Parties do not have to make use of ARIN's listing services; those are entirely a convenience to allow others (*not* ARIN) to match those needing and those with available space.

    /John
    John Curran
    President and CEO
    ARIN
    jcurranarin
    • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

      @jcurranarin Thanks for the clarification John.

      Steven
      sjvn@...
    • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

      @jcurranarin This will require the purchaser to qualify under the current requirements in order for the transfer to complete, correct? If they do not fully qualify for the entire block, can ARIN allow a partial transfer? What happens if they fail to meet the requirements? Does the space remain in the previous owners name?
      brianj2k
  • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

    I think a company going bankrupt should have to just return the IP space to ARIN so they can then allocate the space to people that need it. There is no reason a single company like Microsoft needs 600,000+ IP addresses (in addition to what they already have).
    tlj@...
    • I agree

      @tlj@... This smacks of "squatting" in a way. It'll probably only get worse. There should be no profit motive in the basic addressing system.
      pgit
    • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

      @tlj@...

      I worked for Amazon recently within their operations teams. Given their cloud computing efforts (as well as Microsoft's and Google's), you're dead wrong.

      Regards,
      -M
      betelgeuse68
      • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

        @betelgeuse68 <br>Be that as it may, Microsoft is paying $11.25 per IPv4 address. The deal was put together for Nortel by Addrex. This rather mysterious company is one of the first, but most certainly not the last, IPv4 address brokers.
        <a href="http://www.sanfranciscodentistdds.com">San Francisco dentist</a>
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        samjenko
    • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

      @tlj@... If they are doing cloud computing then yea they will.
      Jimster480
    • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

      I appreciate your speculating as it attracts people's attention and make this topic discussable.
      <a href="http://grocerycouponz.net/">Anna</a>
      annacarey83
  • Cloud services?

    I could see them wanting several thousand for their cloud services, but 600,000 might be enough to spread their cloud over the world...
    jessepollard
  • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

    Another criminal enterprise.
    Pazooza
  • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

    If I recall NT had both a Class A and B address space assigned to them. I wonder what a lowly Class C would go for?
    General Chat
  • Many Addresses to be freed

    If every cell phone didn't have its own IP address then there would be so many free IPv4 addresses that there would be no problems. Cell networks should make use of Private IP's, then there would be tons of IP's available. Same if many home ISP's did the same. Although on Home ISP's I could see there being problems with any large regulated sites like Wikipedia because there wouldnt be that many public IP addresses out there for a whole ISP so it would be too easy to block huge areas/blocks etc. But thats not as big of an issue on cell phones since they dont typically use deskop services/sites that impose regulations like that. Allowing them to use private IP's with only a small pool of public IP's for the outgoing routers.
    Jimster480
  • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

    Verizon switched to private IP addresses for new customers a while ago.
    General Chat
    • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

      @General Chat <br><br>Are you sure about that? My parents have Verizon and I remotely connect to their network often (machine.domain).

      They have had their service with Verizon for 3 months tops.
      mkyoung
  • RE: Want to buy an Internet IPv4 address? Cheap?

    I notice that a lot of people should stay on topic to try and add value to the original blog post.
    <a href="http://lovelythingz.com/">Nick Evans</a>
    nickevans41