When will we run out of IPv4 addresses?

I’ve been kind of working on a post about IPv4 exhaustion. It’s been hard though, because I’m not much of a statistics nut. Fortunately, there exists a Veng Diagram where someone falls into an IP nut *and* a statistics nut.

Geoff Huston has provided us with some good info on IPv4 exhaustion with this guide. He also gives us a “when” prediction here.

The number that most people are currently throwing out is the date that IANA will run out of numbers. But there are at least 2 levels below them. RIRs (Regional Internet Registries) and LIRs/ISPs (Local Internet Registries/Internet Service Providers. An LIR is usually some type of ISP). So there will be some time after IANA runs out before RIRs run out, then some time after that before ISPs run out.

However, if you think that means that you can take your time before implementing IPv6, you’re quite wrong. We’re not looking at much more than 3 or 4 years before ISPs run out (and that’s quite optimistic.) If you deal in anyway with the Asia Pacific area, it’s likely MUCH less. That’s not a lot of time to get a whole new infrastructure tested, tuned, hardened, implemented and supported. If you deal with home users, you’re going to have to do a whole lot more work. There aren’t a lot of end users that are even prepared to deal with IPv6 yet. You’ll have to figure out how to support devices that don’t work on IPv6 (CGN is one way, and it’s not pretty). If you aren’t mired in the details by now, you’re behind, and it’s just going to start costing more and more to get your network up to snuff the longer you delay. There are a few ISPs starting trials to their end customers. These guys will have the clear advantage in support and knowledge base when the time comes that IPv6 is needed.

Will you?

3 Responses to “When will we run out of IPv4 addresses?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bart Trojanowski, ipv6-twit. ipv6-twit said: New blog post: When will we run out of IPv4 addresses? http://www.ipcalypse.ca/?p=71 […]

  2. Jim Leinweber says:

    In north america the first problem is going to be smartphones; Verizon and T-mobile are starting rollouts using dual-stack-lite (IPv6 native, IPv4 only via carrier NAT). v4-only web sites are going to suck, and the customers are going to jump ship. Then ARIN -> ISPs -> businesses runs out of new v4, and v4-only will really suck. Suckage begins much earlier if a business has an asian supply chain dependency. Plus, if you figure by 2015 most everyone will have native v6, and 50% of the traffic will be v6 (in a recent world poll of ISP’s), by 2017 it could be 99% v6. Tier-1 backbones and ISP’s had no financial incentive to deploy v6, but once v6 is dominant, they have a very great incentive to stop routing v4. We may not turn off the last IPv4 device on the backend until 2036 or so, but I predict that global IPv4 routing gets turned off in 2010, after which you can only forward v4 by using a v6 tunnel, in the reverse of today’s situation.

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