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Exhaustion of IPv4 addresses is now a reality

Arcep still estimated, before the summer holidays, that the number of public IPv4 addresses available would allow it to last until March 2020. But since then, requests for allocations have multiplied and the remaining stock is melting like snow in the sun. The exhaustion date is now scheduled.... November 5th, 2019.


After this date, the European RIPE register will switch to a strict rationing mode. Organizations wishing to provide themselves will therefore have to register on the waiting list. If so, they will receive a small range of 256 addresses. For those who already have address ranges, they have almost no chance of receiving this boost. "We will focus on players who have not yet received an IPv4 address allocation," warns Marco Schmidt, head of rule development and internal policy at RIPE.


These addresses will mainly come from companies in bankruptcy. Historical actors who have received a large allocation in the past and who no longer use certain beaches can obviously return them to RIPE. But this case will be quite rare. "IPv4 addresses have become strategic assets. Almost no one will want to part with it," says Vincentus Grinius, CEO of Heficed.

The number of IP address transfers is not expected to increase significantly in the future for the same reasons as seen above. However, the price of the IPv4 address could increase significantly as the offer becomes scarcer. There are currently about twenty bids at the global level on the auction site The average purchase price more than doubled from $9 to $21 in three years.


This shortage is already inspiring fraudulent minds who are on the lookout to recover stocks of IPv4 addresses. In recent years, a few hundred cases have already landed on the RIPE offices.
RIPE has therefore strengthened its controls to remedy this situation. More than 600 surveys, twice as many as the previous year, were conducted in 2018. Members are now asked to check regularly that their data is correct and up to date.


However, this will not solve the fundamental problem of shortage. Today, no telecom player can ignore IPv4. Even if IPv6 is developing, this technology only connects about a quarter of the Web. "The Internet will not stop working, but it will stop growing. This shortage will especially affect new entrants and growing players, as they are the ones who need new public IPv4 addresses the most. Either they manage to obtain them on the secondary market, or they will have to share IPv4 addresses with several customers," explains Vivien Guéant, project manager in Arcep's "Open Internet" unit.


This situation is far from neutral for the end user as it affects the quality of service. Indeed, when an operator retrieves IPv4 addresses from an actor located in another country or continent, it may happen that this geographical information is not updated.

Address sharing also has shortcomings since it allows several hundred or even thousands of clients to be connected to a single IPv4 address. And this significantly complicates maintenance for the operator and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to use certain applications "such as peer-to-peer, remote access to shared files on a NAS, access to connected home control systems, certain network games", explains Arcep in its "Monitoring the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses".

The police also suffer from this forced sharing. Investigations will be difficult to complete if addresses are increasingly shared, as it often relies on an IP address to find a digital offender. To overcome this situation, European police forces would like operators and ISPs to reduce the number of customers shared per IPv4 address. In Belgium, for example, the telecoms industry has played the game and the introduction of a code of conduct has made it possible to limit the subscriber ratio to 16:1.


The only long-term solution is the widespread use of IPv6. "Industry players have never seen much interest in IPv6, as this technology had no immediate effects: all websites and customers that have IPv6 also have IPv4. IPv6 is only useful if everyone gets involved. IPv4 will probably have to be kept for a long time to come. Some even think that IPv4 will never stop," adds Vivien Guéant. Unless we do like Belarus, which has just issued a presidential decree requiring these ISPs to deploy IPv6 to all users by 1 January 2020. To date, it is the only country to force the deployment of IPv6 through legislation.




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Source : 01net





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