As announced at the last American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) meeting, the IPv4 address space will be exhausted as early as February of next year. The process of upgrading from IPv4 to IPv6 is non-trivial and depends on appropriate planning, coordination and, in some cases, hardware and software upgrades. If you have not started down this path, we highly recommend that you begin focusing on it immediately.
For the past 20+ years we have used the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) numbers. These number are what allow all computers, servers, and routers to communicate with each other. The IPv4 set of numbers has 32 bits, or about 4 billion possible addresses. After the extreme growth of the Internet over the years, we are now on the verge of running out of IPv4 addresses. The Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) are responsible for allocating addresses to organizations around the globe, and the American Registry for Internet Number (ARIN) is responsible for allocating address space for the North American region.
Over the past couple of years, the Internet community has closely followed the accelerated draining of the free pool of IPv4 addresses due to the proliferation of mobile devices and tremendous growth of Internet usage in developing countries like China and India. A number of statistical models are being used to predict when exhaustion will occur but, unlike Y2K, it is impossible to know the exact date of exhaustion due to the large number of organizations involved in the allocation process. Based upon the best data available today, the RIRs will run out of freely available IPv4 addresses in 2011.
For the past 10 years we have been working toward the deployment of IPv6, a new numbering scheme that has plenty of numbers available (2^128) to accommodate the growth of the Internet for the foreseeable future. The implementation of IPv6 requires careful planning and engineering to ensure a smooth deployment across various networks. A number of transition methods and technologies must be considered when planning the move to IPv6. Devices only on the IPv6 network cannot directly communicate with the existing IPv4 network, so a transition technology is necessary for all devices to be able to communicate with the entire Internet.
Different types of companies must prepare in different ways for the IPv6 transition. Content providers must ensure that their hosting services are accessible to IPv6 users by adding IPv6 services to their servers or by using a transition technology. Broadband access providers are often in constant need of more IPv4 addresses as they install new customers. After IPv4 addresses run out, additional IPv4 addresses for new customers will likely be scarce and thus new subscribers must be installed by using IPv6. These new subscribers also need a transition technology to bridge the gap between the IPv6 network and the existing IPv4 Internet. Enterprises must ensure that they can reach IPv6 sites as well.
Preparation for IPv6 deployment starts with understanding how the Internet will evolve as we run out of IPv4 addresses. The next steps include auditing your equipment and software to validate that it supports IPv6, training your IT staff to understand IPv6, creating a plan to deploy IPv6 and, lastly, executing on a plan to fully enable your network to support IPv6.
Cascadeo is well versed in IPv6, including having two members of our team serving on various ARIN advisory councils. For additional information regarding IPv6 or assistance in planning and deploying IPv6, contact us!
Additional IPv6 Resources:
Date: Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 6:58 AM
Subject: [arin-announce] Remaining IPv4 Address Space Drops Below 5%
The Number Resource Organization (NRO) announced today that less than 5% of the world’s IPv4 addresses remain unallocated following IANA’s distribution of two IPv4 /8s to APNIC. The IANA IPv4 free pool has now dropped to 12 /8s, or 4.69%. The IPv4 free pool dipped below 10% in January, just nine months ago. Since then, over 200 million IPv4 addresses have been allocated from IANA to the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs).
The number of IPv4 allocations is expected to grow by only 8% this year. In contrast, the five RIRs are expected to allocate over 2,000 IPv6 address blocks, representing an increase of over 70% on the number of IPv6 allocations in 2009. These statistics indicate an absence of any last minute “rush” on IPv4 addresses and a strong momentum behind the adoption of IPv6.
When the IANA IPv4 free pool has only five /8 blocks remaining, they will be simultaneously distributed to the five RIRs in accordance with global Internet number resource distribution policy. This means that only seven blocks remain to be handed out under the normal distribution method. At current depletion rates, the last five IPv4 address blocks will be allocated to the RIRs in early 2011.
The pressure to adopt IPv6 is mounting. Many worry that without adequate preparation and action, there will be a chaotic scramble for IPv6, which could increase Internet costs and threaten the stability and security of the global network. ARIN encourages you to deploy IPv6 now. Visit https://www.arin.net/knowledge/v4-v6.html for more information on IPv6 adoption, or contact us at email@example.com with any questions.
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