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Need IPv4 addresses? Get 'em here

Carolyn Duffy Marsan, Network World | April 25, 2011
A vibrant market for buying and selling IPv4 addresses is emerging, and policymakers are clarifying the rules associated with how network operators can monetize this precious Internet addressing resource.

In the meantime, ARIN is still handing out IPv4 addresses from its stash of 85.8 million remaining addresses. ARIN estimates it has a six- to nine-month supply of IPv4 addresses, which are being given out to ISPs to meet the need they can demonstrate three months into the future.

"We're still giving out address space in the region," Curran says. "As we continue to issue address space, there may not be a lot of reason for someone to do a transfer."

One issue is whether a vibrant IPv4 address resale market will further delay IPv6 deployment.

A new study of Internet traffic trends by Arbor Networks indicates that around 0.03% of Internet traffic is IPv6, down 12% during the last six months. In contrast, IPv4 traffic grew by an average of 40% to 60% over the same time frame. The study involved measuring IPv6 traffic across six ISPs in North America and Europe over the last six months.

"The amount of IPv6 traffic -- both tunneled and native -- is very, very small. It's well under three-tenths of 1%,'' Labovitz says. "We're at a place in the Internet's 20-year evolution where we're starting to see the end of IPv4, and it's clear that we've got a very long way to go with IPv6 migration."

Proponents of IPv6 are hoping that the upcoming World IPv6 Day, a 24-hour trial of IPv6 that is scheduled for June 8, will speed up IPv6 adoption and in turn prime the market for IPv4 address resale.

Arbor Networks says it isn't sure how much more IPv6 traffic will surge across the Internet on June 8. "We expect it to jump significantly," Labovitz says. "It's really a question of how many folks are running modern stacks and how many folks have access to IPv6 over the infrastructure. I don't think it will be half of Internet traffic on June 8, but whether it goes up by 2% or 5%, I don't know."

Arbor is putting in place a measurement capability so that it can provide near real-time reports on IPv6 traffic on World IPv6 Day.

"We want to have hour-by-hour snapshots of the success or failure of the event," Labovitz says. "We'll put up a Web page beforehand with counters that show the percentage of traffic, the number of carriers with native IPv6 traffic and a lot of other vital statistics."

But Labovitz admits that IPv6 still faces many hurdles to deployment.

"Vendors haven't wanted to do it until the carriers demanded it. Carriers haven't wanted to do it until the enterprises demanded it. Consumers don't want to do it until there is content, and the content providers are waiting on the carriers," Labovitz says. "That's why World IPv6 Day is so important, because it isn't just about the carriers; it's about the whole Internet ecosystem."


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