Stress fractures in the Internet by 2012? I’m not so sure

From the “the sky is falling” files:

Nemertes Research is out with a report today with some dire predictions about the future of the Internet. They claim that Internet demand continues to outpace growth in network capacity at the access layer, and IP addresses are quickly depleting.

Big surprise.

Internet address depletion – specifically IPv4 has been an issue for a few years with most estimates placing exhaustion in the 2010-12 timeframe. But it’s a bit of a myth in my view. Just because there are no more IPv4 address blocks to give out doesn’t mean their aren’t any more addresses. For one, I’ve heard from carriers and others that there are a good number of unclaimed/unused addresses that could be reclaimed. Network Address Translation and port forwarding continues to amaze me as a way to deliver traffic to many people from only a single IP address. Then of course there is IPv6 – which is slowly making its way into the carrier network and could be used in a dual IPv4/IPv6 stack to help alleviate any address concerns. So no the address sky is not falling and the internet will not stop working in 2012.

When it comes to bandwidth, the workhorse of modern networks today is either OC-192 or 10GbE. OC-768 (40 Gbps) is a bit expensive and adoption has been slow but it’s out there. But by the 2010-12 timeframe Infonetics Research is already forecasting that 100GbE will be gaining big share. That’s 100 Gigabit Ethernet and that’s a lot of bandwidth (10x the modern workhorse).

So is there a bandwidth crunch?

Of course there is but it will be partially solved by 2012 by 100GbE.

So yes there are issues related to address space and bandwidth capacity that we need to be aware of – but the sky is not falling and there are real solutions to these problems that we can already see today.

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