ARIN is one of five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) that manages the distribution of Internet number resources (IPv4 and IPv6 address space and Autonomous System Numbers) in Canada, many Caribbean and North Atlantic islands, and the United States.
ARIN just held their semiannual meeting. The meeting was held in San Antonio, TX. Interesting work was presented and new policies where discussed. The community had a chance to give their input on the suggested policies and ARINs work. This report highlights some of the discussed topics around IPv6 and the depletion of IPv4 addresses.
Creating an IPv4 market
Today the allocations of IPv4 addresses are on a “per need basis”. If you have a legitimate need for the resource you will get it. This model is not sustainable for a scares resource such as IPv4. As we are moving closer to depletion, this model will likely change. A idea is to move to a supply/demand model and create a market for IPv4 addresses.
Two new policies covered the topic of creating a market for IPv4 addresses. The proposal “Transfer Policy (2009-1)” suggested a way of how two organizations could transfer addresses between them and “IPv4 recovery fund (2009-4)” suggested a way of how ARIN could be the broker and handle the transfer of money between two parties what wishes to buy/sell IPv4 addresses.
Both policies were debated heavily and the meeting did not reach any consensus on either of them. These policies must most likely be rewritten before they can get adopted.
Delaying IPv4 depletion
As we are moving closer to IPv4 depletion several voices are raised about checking that the current IPv4 allocations are actually used. There is a fear that some space might be “stuck” with crashed dot com companies and other organizations that don’t use them.
ARIN has started a spring cleanup initiative where everybody in their database is contacted and has to confirm that they are still using the IPv4 addresses in question. There is also a stricter policy (2008-7) that would mark unresponsive contacts in the ARIN database and potentially delete them from the database.
Another discussion was how to how to handle returned addresses. A new policy (2009-3) suggested that the returned addresses in any region should be made available globally. This is of course a hot topic here in US as there are several large old allocations that might come back into play and delay the depletion. The US Department of Defense has for example about 100 million IPv4 addresses. If they decided to return some of those addresses, should they then be used in US or should they be available for other regions as well? All other regions in the world have adopted this policy and would like to see available space being return to the central pool and potentially used elsewhere in the world.
Jean Camp presented some of her work in the area of changing how IPv4 addresses are allocated to delay the IPv4 depletion date. She suggested three new ways of allocating IPv4:
- Organization Threshold – Organizations about a certain threshold receives no additional allocations. This would clearly not favor the big ones.
- Per organization annual threshold – Every organizations gets a yearly quota of addresses. Think of this as “one bowl of rice per person and day”.
- Predetermine Exhaustion – A system much like the H1B visa system in the US. Addresses are allocated on a per need basis until we reach the total limit for the year.
The “Depleted IPv4 reserve (2009-2)” policy suggested a threshold of the size of allocations when only 8 million addresses are left in the region. Similar policies have been adopted in other regions in the world. The policy suggested that when that threshold is reached, ARIN should only allocate addresses in chunks of 1000 addresses at a time and that an organization have to wait for six months before requesting more space.
This policy was under heavily debate, in general the big IPv4 users (such as the national telephone companies and big cable operators) did not really care. 8 million addresses are just breadcrumbs that don’t make a difference for those companies. The small IPv4 users, such as small ISP and telephone coops were in general in favor of this policy as they could see that they could be served IPv4 addresses for a longer time. The companies that opposed this policy were mid size ISPs who argued that they were unfairly not favored by the policy.
Promote IPv6 usage
ARIN presented their current reach out efforts to promote IPv6. One initiative is to send a letter to C-level executives urging them to start adopting IPv6.
The Policy “Community networks (2008-3)” discussed a less expensive way for non for profit initiatives to get IPv6 addresses. This would include amateur radio networks and similar initiatives. This policy will most likely be accepted and implemented.