APNIC welcomes new IPv4 address space availability

Recent developments to address allocation policy affect the potential availability of IPv4 address space.

Recent developments will make a significant difference to the availability of IPv4 address space to ISPs in the Asia Pacific, according to Mr Akinori Maemura, the Chair of APNIC, the Regional Internet address Registry for the region.

"The APNIC Executive Council [its governing Board] met last week to discuss recent changes to global IPv4 address policies, and makes this announcement to welcome these developments and provide more details to our community," Mr Maemura said.

Global IPv4 address space transfers

In the first of these developments, the opportunity for transfers of IPv4 address space between the Asia Pacific and other parts of the world has now been opened, with the approval of new policies by ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers.

"The APNIC community adopted inter-regional IPv4 transfer rules during 2011, but we have been waiting since then for other RIRs to follow suit. ARIN is the first to do so, and will hopefully soon be followed by the RIPE NCC, the address registry for Europe and the Middle East, and then by the other RIRs," Mr Maemura explained.

IPv4 transfers from the ARIN region to any APNIC-region ISP who can find a willing source are now possible. Importantly, recipients must be network operators who are able to demonstrate their need for the addresses, under normal APNIC allocation policies.

APNIC Director General Paul Wilson emphasized that stockpiling or purchase for resale is not permitted under the new transfer policies, under any circumstances.

"We do expect that IPv4 address 'brokers' will become quite active, helping to match buyers and sellers of address space, and this will only help the process of getting IPv4 addresses to those who need them. However all brokers, along with address space buyers and sellers, are obliged to operate under the policies established by the RIR communities." Mr Wilson said.

Recycling of recovered IPv4 address space

The APNIC EC has also welcomed the first returns of recovered IPv4 address blocks to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA, the central IP address registry for the Internet), since its supply was exhausted in February 2011. During the past month, both ARIN and the RIPE NCC have returned recovered address space to IANA, and this will become available for future allocation by the RIRs, according to their regional need. This process will provide an ongoing (though limited) supply of IPv4 addresses for distribution by the RIRs under normal allocation policies.

"There is now a limited supply of addresses available, from the blocks that were allocated globally before the establishment of the current RIR system. These addresses don't belong in any one region, and are being be returned to IANA for redistribution wherever needed, according to current policies. APNIC will shortly follow suit, but we will receive more addresses in future as we need them," Mr Wilson said.

In May, a global policy for IANA's handling of returned space was adopted under the global policy development process, after its approval by each RIRs' community policy forum. Such global policies are coordinated with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

IPv6 deployment still critical for Asia Pacific and other regions

APNIC representatives stressed that these developments, which will bring more IPv4 space back into circulation, will not reduce the motivation for IPv6 adoption.

"IPv6 adoption should not be significantly affected at a global or regional level, because remaining IPv4 supplies are still very limited. The new transfer policies will provide IPv4 addresses, at a market price, to ISPs that need them urgently. They will also provide a short-term incentive for ISPs with excess IPv4 to release surplus resources to the market while they still have value," Mr Maemura said.

Mr Wilson added, “APNIC is committed to IPv6 as the only solution to the long-term viability of the Internet, and the successful transition to IPv6 requires all participants to act now. Redistributing IPv4 will assist organizations with that goal, providing more options and flexibility in their choices. And of course, early adopters of IPv6 are now in a position to benefit, by making some of IPv4 resources that they no longer use available to others who need them in the short term.”

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