The road to IPv4 exhaustion in Europe, Asia and Oceania

The road to IPv4 exhaustion in Europe, Asia and Oceania

How did the other Regional Internet Registries experience the final phase of IPv4 exhaustion which the LACNIC region is currently undergoing?

What lessons were learned after assigning the last IPv4 address and transitioning to IPv6? These questions came up at Casa de Internet for Latin America and the Caribbean and quickly resonated with our colleagues at RIPE NCC and APNIC.

The road traveled by RIPE. Andrea Cima, Registration Services Specialist at RIPE NCC (Europe and the Middle East) told LACNIC News that the policy for assigning IPv4 addresses from its last /8 has been in force since 14 September 2012. Since this policy came into force, each new or existing member of RIPE can request only one final /22 allocation, without the need to provide any justification. “When the policy came into force, it was mandatory to have a registered IPv6 assignment (minimum a /32, no longer in force). The only requirement was to have a registered assignment; there was no requirement to announce the prefix,” explained Cima.

What did your policy entail for the final phase of IPv4 exhaustion?

The policy based on necessity was modified immediately before the policy regulating the use of the last /8 was triggered. Initially, members were able to request IPv4 addresses based on the growth projected for the following twelve months. This was incrementally reduced until reaching three months.

We made sure that all requests were processed (and approved) in a chronological order – first in, first out. This mean that, even though their requests had been processed, applicants had to wait until the requests received prior to their own had also been processed.

What can you tell us about this experience?

The whole process went smoothly. Members quickly got used to the fact that RIPE NCC was no longer able to provide additional IPv4 addresses (other than one last /22). The resource transfer market only became active in early 2014.

How did the members of your service region react when faced with IPv4 exhaustion?

Most of our members accepted it and tried to solve their problems in their own way, for example, by using their existing addresses more efficiently but also by deploying IPv6. Some members tried to circumvent the policy by opening several accounts as LIRs (members) to obtain several /22s.

Over the years, this led to more restrictive policies. For example, resources can only be transferred twenty-four months after their allocation by RIPE NCC, and transfers due to mergers and acquisitions are only allowed if changes have been duly documented by a national authority (chamber of commerce, internal revenue service, state registry, etc.). In the past, we used to accept an agreement signed by both parties. The twenty-four month holding period also applies after a transfer due to a merger or an acquisition.

Has this policy helped accelerate IPv6 deployment in your region?

In the RIPE region, the last /8 policy initially included the requirement that a member needed to have an IPv6 assignment before requesting space from the final /8.

The reason for this requirement was that the community expected it would encourage IPv6 adoption, but our statistics show that this did not happen. The policy was then changed and the IPv6 requirement was eliminated.

When we asked our members who have deployed IPv6 what their main motivation was, their reply was primary the lack of available IPv4 addresses. In this sense, IPv4 exhaustion is the number one incentive for IPv6 deployment.

Under these circumstances, how has the transfer market worked?

The number of IPv4 transfers has increased and is now stable. In the beginning, the first IPv4 transfer policy was not used frequently. We’ve published some articles by RIPE Labs on this topic at the following links:

IPv4 Transfers in the RIPE NCC Service Region

Developments in IPv4 Transfers

Under our policies, all transfers are published on our website:

IPv4 Transfer Statistics

The Asian Route to Oceania. Guangliang Pan, Registration Services Specialist at APNIC, told LACNIC News that the policy that regulates the last phase of IPv4 assignments in the Asia-Pacific region allows both existing and new members to access these addresses.

What did your policy entail for the final phase of IPv4 exhaustion?

Standard assignments ended when we reached our final /8 assigned by the IANA. From then on, both new and existing members were able to request a maximum of a /22 from this block.

In May 2014, this was extended to allow both new and existing members to request an additional /22 from a different address pool created with the space allocated to APNIC in accordance with the mechanisms established in the Global Policy for IPv4 Allocation by the IANA Post Exhaustion. This second pool is currently empty and there is a waiting list.

What can you tell us about this experience?

I believe it was very successful. APNIC reached its last /8 on 15 April 2011, yet 40% of this space is still available. This means that —six years later— new members can still obtain a small amount of space to launch their business plans. Existing members can continue to grow if their clients meet the criteria established for their own addresses.

How did the members of your service region react when faced with IPv4 exhaustion?

Some members were able to justify the stockpiling of addresses prior to their exhaustion by accelerating their engineering plans. Since then, they have increased the use of NAT, acquired IPv4 addresses through transfers, and asked their customers to register to become APNIC members in their own right so that these organizations can have access to the final /8. We have seen more members request IPv6 addresses since 2011.

Has this policy helped accelerate IPv6 deployment in your region?

The goal of our last /8 policy is to ensure that new and existing LIRs (members) receive a minimum amount of IPv6 address space to help them transition to IPv6. It was not designed to help accelerate IPv6 deployment.

How did you deal with the lack of IPv4 addresses without the corresponding IPv6 deployment? Do you have any measurements in this sense?

Given that we have not yet reached total exhaustion, it’s hard to say that a crisis has occurred. People are using NAT or IPv4 address transfers as a temporary solution.

Under these circumstances, how has the transfer market worked?

The transfer market has worked very well. The number of transfers has increased over the years.