There are 2^32 (around 4.3 billion) unique IPv4 addresses and in the early days of the Internet, this seemed like a huge amount. But the Internet grew faster than anyone could have predicted and engineers soon realised that the limited supply of IPv4 address space would not be enough to meet future demand for emerging users and connected devices. In anticipation of this, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) developed, tested and standardised IPv6 in the late 1990s.
AFRINIC has seen consumption rates increase rapidly over the last few months. In the near future, it is inevitable that AFRINIC will become the only region where, with correct justification, significant amounts of IPv4 address space can be obtained. We expect this to lead to a sharp increase in requests and our Member Services Team is preparing accordingly for this. All requests are evaluated and any eventual allocations are made according to the community-defined IPv4 allocation policy.
Nothing. The only way to ensure that networks continue to run seamlessly and all devices around the world can continue to communicate with each other is to deploy IPv6 on networks and run them in parallel with IPv4 networks. You can find out more about how you can plan for your IPv6 deployment by looking at the information on our IPv4 Exhaustion section, our IPv6 Deployment section and our Training website.
No. The Internet will continue to operate as normal. However, unless networks are IPv6 ready, devices IPv6 enabled and content made available over IPv6, there is a very real possibility that certain parts of the network that remains on IPv4-only may become unreachable to those connecting with an IPv6 address and vice versa. The only solution is for network operators to deploy IPv6 as soon as possible.
In those regions where operators can only obtain small IPv4 allocations because their RIR has exhausted its supply of IPv4, many now have to invest in IPv6 networks if they have not already done so. It is extremely important that African network operators also start their transitioning process as soon as possible to ensure they can continue communicating with IPv4 and IPv6 networks in other regions. This is the only way to guarantee that all Internet users will be able to freely access the global Internet from Africa and to ensure that Africa remains a global player in online world.
AFRINIC has a comprehensive IPv6 programme that includes information, deployment guides, free training courses and an IPv6 test bed for operators to test IPv6 networks on. You can also find more information on our IPv4 Exhaustion section, our IPv6 Deployment and our Training website. Government representatives can download our IPv6 for Governments handbook.