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North America is down to its last IPv4 addresses

ARIN, which oversees the Internet addresses for Canada, the United States, and much of the Caribbean, is down to its last few IPv4 addresses. Are you ready to convert to IPv6? You;'d better be. The IPv4 clock is ticking.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Is your company ready to start using IPv6 addresses for its Internet addresses? You'd better be. The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) is down to its last allotment of old-style IPv4 addresses and the clock is counting down. 

IPv6 Adoption
In its survey of ISPs, Incognito Software found that only a small percentage are fully ready to handle IPv6 addresses.

In an announcement, Leslie Nobile, Registration Services Director for ARIN which oversees the assigning of Internet addresses for Canada, the United States, and much of the Caribbean, said, "ARIN is down to its final /8 of available space in its inventory and has moved into Phase Four of its IPv4 Countdown Plan. All IPv4 requests are now subject to Countdown Plan processes, so please review the following details carefully."

What that means is if your company needs IPv4 addresses, you'd better request them sooner than later.

Nobile explained, "All IPv4 requests will be processed on a "first in, first out" basis; all requests of any size will be subject to team review; and requests for /15 or larger will require department director approval. ARIN's resource analysts will respond to tickets as they appear chronologically in the queue. Each ticket response is treated as an individual transaction, so the completion time of a single request may vary based on customer response times and the number of requests waiting in the queue. Because each correspondence will be processed in sequence, it is possible that response times may exceed our usual two-day turnaround." For more details on the process see the ARIN IPv4 Countdown – Phase 4 page.

Even now you may not be able to get all the addresses you want, Nobile wrote. ARIN may experience situations where it can no longer fulfill qualifying IPv4 requests due to a lack of inventory of the desired block size. At that time, the requester may opt to accept the largest available block size or they may ask to be placed on the Waiting List for Unmet Requests."

I asked Owen DeLong, ARIN advisory board member and major IPv6 ISP Hurricane Electric director what this all means. He explained that " 1 /8 in the free pool" means that there are now less than 16.7-million IPv4 addresses left for North America.

DeLong went on to say, "It means IPv6 deployment is now more urgent than it was yesterday, as it has been each day since over a decade ago we first realized we were going to run out of IPv4 addresses." Further, "It means we are still on track for ARIN to likely run out of IPv4 addresses in the free pool by the end of this year, or possibly even sooner."

There is some good, albeit not that good, news on the ever-shrinking IPv4 address pool. Incognito Software, a global provider of broadband device provisioning and IP address management found in its recent IPv6 Readiness survey of ISPs that while only a small percentage, 14 percent, of respondents are IPv6-ready, while 41 percent are midway in their transition to IPv6. However, "even fewer are offering IPv6 to their end-users, due in large part to challenges operators face with infrastructure upgrades, compatible device support, and customer education." Nevertheless, "the survey found that three-quarters of respondents do recognize the importance of IPv6 and have begun planning for it within their organizations."

Akamai, the major content delivery network (CDN) provider, stated in its Fourth Quarter, 2013 State of the Internet Report/ that while the United States and some European countries continue to lead the world in terms of IPv6 adoption, and the rate of adoption was increasing, even the country that's taken to IPv6 the quickest, Switzerland, only has 9.3 percent of its traffic on IPv6. The Untied States, which ranks number five in the world, only uses IPv6 for 5.2 percent of its overall Internet traffic.

In short, we're running out of old-school IPv4 addresses faster than ever and the need to move to IPv6 has never been more urgent.

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