Good-bye old Internet: Europe is down to its last IPv4 addresses

Good-bye old Internet: Europe is down to its last IPv4 addresses

Summary: Think you don't need to worry about IPv6 Internet yet? The Internet registry for Europe, the Middle East, and much of Central Asia is down to its last IPv4 address block. The U.S. and Canada? Our day of reckoning comes in August 2013.

For Europe, the time to switch to IPv6 is now.

If you're Joe User, you don't have to worry about IPv6 yet. But, if you own a business in Europe, the Middle East or some of Central Asia, start worrying. RIPE NCC, the RIR (Regional Internet Registry) for this part of the world, is down to its last IPv4 block. And, when those old-style Internet addresses are gone, the IPv4 cupboard will be bare.

RIPE has announced that “The RIPE NCC is now allocating IPv4 address space from the last /8 [address block].” A single IPv4/8 address block consists of almost 17-million addresses. That may sound like a lot. It's not. RIPE is allocating 350-thousand addresses a day. At this rate, Europe will completely run out of addresses on about November 5th.

RIPE is already tightening down on its distribution of its last addresses. “Each LIR (Local Internet Registry) can receive only one /22 (1,024 IPv4 addresses) upon application for IPv4 resources. In order to obtain this /22 allocation, the LIR must already have an IPv6 allocation. No new IPv4 PI (Provider Independent) space will be assigned." In short, all ISPs in Europe and the other areas of the world that RIPE covers must start supporting IPv6 now.

While some companies are finally waking up to the need to switch over to IPv6 addresses, many businesses still haven't started their journey to the 21st century Internet. For those who really don't want to switch to IPv6 yet and have deep pockets, some businesses are selling IPv4 addresses from businesses and RIRs that still have IPv4 addresses to spare.

For the most part though, as Cricket Liu, VP of Architecture, Infoblox, a large enterprise networking companies, observed, "With RIPE exhausting their IPv4 address space, over 70% of the world's population, about 5 billion people, now has no IPv4 addresses available. This will accelerate the growth of IPv6 in Europe, as it has in Asia and Oceania. This also makes implementation of IPv6 in North America imperative, because increasingly, to serve a worldwide customer base, you'll need to provide services over both IPv4 and IPv6. Current estimates project that the U.S. and Canada will run out of IPv4 in less than a year."

Related Stories:

IPv6: When do you really need to switch?

The Internet IPv4 address business

IPv6 growth explodes

Windows 8 moves to IPv6 Internet

IPv6: It's the end of the Internet as you know it, and I feel fine

All IPv6 Internet, All the time

Topics: Networking, Emerging Tech, Mobility, EU, Enterprise 2.0

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  • Good fact based article with an interesting point of view attached.

    You've done a couple of these lately. They are notable reads, Steven. Far more appealing than the opinion only articles that are, ahem, somewhat slanted. Please, PLEASE keep this trend up.

    You're in real danger of becoming credible again ;-)
  • Mismanaged

    How about reclaiming someof the addresses that have been blackholed from Russian malware use? IPv6 is just a cover for how badly the IPv4 addresses have been managed. Since people cannot sell the addresses they do not need, they just sit on them like dragons on their treasure.
    • A band-aid approach AT BEST

      IPv6 is going to be necessary for everyone sooner or later, so why not take the leap NOW before you HAVE to?
  • IPv6 will exhaust too

    We've been looking at moving into public IPv6 for our business. Have you seen how many IPv6 addresses they recommend allocating to the end user? I can assign one for every nail in my house and have thousands left over.

    - The original spec sais /48 to end users.
    - Somewhere since, it was suggested /56 to the end user.
    - The RFC 5375 specs say that a /64 should be allocated to each network (Note that this is your internal assignment, not your home or office assignment form the ISP.)

    Per RFC 5375 ( they recommend a /64 assignment further suggesting that anything smaller would "rarely be useful."

    I can't help but think that assigning this many IP's to people with maybe 50 devices total will cause the same exhaustion that IPv4 has. Simplified, it's like suggesting that "I have 100 IP's so I assign 1 IP per person and no more than 100 people can have one. OMG, we're running out, so let's solve the problem and the new spec has 1000000 IP's, but recommends assigning no less than 10k IP's per person." Umm... while not exact to the real IPv4 / IPv6 numbers, logically it's like this example. We'll still run out because of over-assigning each allocation and a spec that requires this because things break if you don't sounds like a broken spec and a poor thing to expect us to move into.