Shift to IPv6 to accelerate as global IPv4 exhaustion nears

Published on:Thursday,24 April 2014

Brisbane, Australia – 24 April 2014 APNIC today repeated its call for organizations to begin progressing their plans to move to IPv6 – the next generation of Internet addressing – after North America's Regional Internet Registry (RIR), ARIN, reported it had reached its final pool of available IPv4 addresses.

ARIN's announcement today, coupled with the Latin American registry, LACNIC, reaching its final pool of IPv4 addresses in March, means that four of the five RIRs globally have now reached their final '/8' block of addresses. APNIC, the RIR for the Asia Pacific, was the first to reach its final /8 in April 2011 and was closely followed by RIPE NCC, the RIR for Europe, in September 2012.

Internet Protocol addresses, or IP addresses, are a core part of how the Internet operates. Every device needs an IP address to connect to the Internet and communicate with other devices, computers, and services.

Paul Wilson, Director General of APNIC, said the pending exhaustion of available IPv4 addresses comes at a time when demand for Internet addresses is only set to accelerate.

"The Internet has become a vital part of our lives and is continuing to expand across the Asia Pacific. Not only do we have millions of people coming online for the first time in developing economies around the region, but in developed economies we are seeing an increasing variety of devices connecting to the Internet – whether it be phones, cars, household appliances, or industrial machinery," he said.

"Industry predictions on the growth of devices connecting to the Internet vary dramatically – anywhere from 26 billion to 200 billion devices will be connected by 2020. With roughly only 3.7 billion unique IPv4 addresses available for use on the Internet, it's clear that organizations worldwide need to continue their shift to the next generation of IP addressing, IPv6, if they are to avoid future constraints on Internet access and negatively impacting their operations.

"The need to move to IPv6 has been known for many years but many organizations have opted to defer the investment until it is really necessary. IPv4 address space exhaustion means that time is fast approaching."

IPv6, the next generation IP addressing system, was created in the 1990s in response to the clear need for a greater number of Internet addresses than IPv4 could offer. IPv6 offers an enormous number of addresses – a future Internet of 100 trillion devices would only consume a mere 5% of the available IPv6 space – however requires Internet Service Providers, businesses and consumers to upgrade existing equipment.

IPv6 usage, as measured by Google, is accelerating. Currently 3.4% of Internet traffic is carried by IPv6, up from 2.5% in January 2014 and 1% in January 2013. By the end of 2014, IPv6 traffic is predicted to hit 10% as IPv6 investments continue from large online businesses such as Facebook, which recently announced it plans to have 100% of its network infrastructure using IPv6 by 2017.

"Forward looking organizations that rely on the Internet should no longer be waiting for the shift to IPv6 to happen – it is happening now.  Rather than investing in more technology to help extend the life of IPv4, organizations in the Asia Pacific must turn their investments towards the transition to IPv6 in earnest. The good news is that costs can be minimized by planning ahead, for instance by ensuring IPv6 capabilities are gained within the normal hardware and software upgrade cycles." Mr Wilson said.

"There is no doubt IPv6 will drive Internet growth into the next decades, and centuries. If you depend on the Internet, then you will depend on IPv6 as a critical part of your business. Now is the time to be asking those who provide you with Internet services and expertise – whether they are ISPs, vendors, data centres, developers, staff, or consultants – how they will support IPv6 services for you in future. If they have no answer, it may be time to find another."

For more information on IPv4 and IPv6, visit

APNIC's simple guide to Internet addressing is also available for download.

Maintenance details
Affected services