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Analysis of the future exhaustion of the IPv4 Central pool (Archive)


Analysis of the future exhaustion of the IPv4 Central pool in relation to IANA and its impact on the AfriNIC region

For some years now, studies have been done to try and assess the dates of exhaustion of the IPv4 central pool at the level of IANA and the Regional Registries. Geoff Huston's studies, for instance, published on project the exhaustion of the IANA pool of addresses to around 26 July 2011.(Seen on 27 February 2007 at 7:59 UTC +10. Note: The website computes possible dates for the pool exhaustion in relation to IANA and RIR allocations in real time).

In light of this and other information available (similar study done by CISCO using different methods), there is undeniable concern for IP network operators with questions like: What will the situation be at the estimated date, if the operators cannot obtain public IPv4 addresses? Should there be reserves for addresses locally at the RIR level and/or even at the IANA level to cater for the most urgent?

Faced with such questions, operators in the APNIC region (Asia Pacific Network Information Center) proposed a policy aiming at coordinating and planning the exhaustion of the IPv4 central pool ( But beyond the approach of centralized coordination for the transition, there remains concerns that are not expressly addressed and raised in the community especially in regions where the Internet is in its full expansion capacity such as Africa and Latin-America (under the management of AfriNIC and LACNIC respectively).

Some of these questions are:

  1. What can those "small" registries (like AfriNIC) do, to ensure access to IPv4 addresses to their communities even after exhaustion of the IANA central pool?
  2. How will the Internet resource management system look like after the exhaustion of the IANA central Pool and that of AfriNIC?
  3. What about the IPv6 solution?

The objective of this document is to review different points based on data for the African Region and to set up foundations for some solutions whilst leaving the discussion open for contribution from the community.

It is almost evident that with the exhaustion of the of IPv4 address pool, a black market will develop with its law of supply and demand and will not be favorable to ISPs in emerging regions.

It is also almost obvious that as for IPv4, the natural deployment of IPv6 in the communities concerned will have some difficulties, in spite of the measures taken to encourage it.


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