IPv4 Death March Picks Up Steam
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Earlier today, the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) announced that it had been allocated two /8 address blocks from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA ). Those two blocks, 39/8 and 106/8, were the last unallocated blocks in the IANA free pool of IPv4 addresses available to Regional Internet Registries (RIR). With the allocation, the final days of IPv4 have moved closer and the number of available addresses that can be allocated will dwindle.
The IANA has scheduled a press conference for Thursday to discuss the final allocation of the last five blocks of IPv4 space.
But while the IANA free pool is now gone, it doesn't mean that IPv4 address space itself has been exhausted. The RIRs make requests from IANA for free, unallocated space which is then allocated by the RIRs to carriers and businesses. Each /8 allocation includes approximately 16 million addresses. In total, there could be 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses in use, were they all fully allocated.
As Enterprise Networking Planet reports, the transition to the newer IPv6 offers a number of benefits including significantly more address space. IPv6 has a 128 bit addressing system that can provide 340 trillion trillion trillion (34 x 10 to the 38th power) Internet addresses. The report also details what is likely to happen in the near term before the transition is complete.