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3 FEB 2011:Free Pool of IPv4 Address Space Depleted

The basics

“This is an historic day in the history of the Internet, and one we have been anticipating for quite some time,” states Raúl Echeberría, Chairman of the Number Resource Organization (NRO), the official representative of the five RIRs. “The future of the Internet is in IPv6. All Internet stakeholders must now take definitive action to deploy IPv6.”

IPv4 depletion

  • The key incentives for IPv6 deployment include the operational simplification that comes from removing overlapping address space from the network, the reduced costs of managing such complex networks and the safe-guarding against shocks to networking business that could arise from additional address space being unavailable at a crucial time.
  • As a result, many larger enterprises, such as Microsoft, are now taking steps to turn IPv4 off, running IPv6-only within the company. In a recent blog, the company describes their heavily translated IPv4 network as “potentially fragile”, “operationally challenging”, and with regard to dual stack operations (i.e. those running IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously) “complex”. For Microsoft, turning on dual stack operation and then turning IPv4 off is expected to reduce cost and introduce efficiencies.
  • In its 2018 report on the state of IPv6 deployment, the Internet Society found that, while levels of IPv6 adoption were increasing, only 25% of all internet-connected networks advertise IPv6 connectivity. In the same report, Google reports that 49 countries deliver more than 5% of traffic over IPv6 and 24 countries whose IPv6 traffic exceeds 15%.
This is truly a major turning point in the on-going development of the Internet,” said Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Nobody was caught off guard by this, the Internet technical community has been planning for IPv4 depletion for quite some time. But it means the adoption of IPv6 is now of paramount importance, since it will allow the Internet to continue its amazing growth and foster the global innovation we’ve all come to expect.”
IPv6 is the “next generation” of the Internet Protocol, providing a hugely expanded address space and allowing the Internet to grow into the future. “Billions of people world wide use the Internet for everything from sending tweets to paying bills. The transition to IPv6 from IPv4 represents an opportunity for even more innovative applications without the fear of running out of essential Internet IP addresses,” said Vice President of IANA Elise Gerich.
Adoption of IPv6 is now vital for all Internet stakeholders. The RIRs have been working with network operators at the local, regional, and global level for more than a decade to offer training and advice on IPv6 adoption and ensure that everyone is prepared for the exhaustion of IPv4

“Each RIR will have its final full /8 from IANA, plus any existing IP address holdings to distribute. Depending on address space requests received, this could last each RIR anywhere from a few weeks to many months. It’s only a matter of time before the RIRs and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must start denying requests for IPv4 address space. Deploying IPv6 is now a requirement, not an option,” added Echeberría. IPv6 address space has been available since 1999. Visit for more information on IPv6, or your local RIR for information on how to get address space.

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