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


3) What will happen?

It is very much probable that the perspective of this exhaustion will trigger in the other regions (ARIN, RIPE and APNIC) pressure on LIRs and RIRs leading to accelerated consumption and as thus, faster exhaustion of the IANA pool which is envisaged by July 25th 2011. If this occurs one year beforehand that is on July 25th 2010 then AfriNIC's /8 request for January 11th 2011 will not be fulfilled due to the exhaustion of the IANA pool. The AfriNIC pool would therefore completely empty in August 2011 instead of April 2014.


Coming back to the initial questions that drove us to these long and perhaps boring studies and analyses.

1) What can the "small" registries (like AfriNIC) do to ensure continued access to IPv4 Addresses to their communities once the IANA pool is exhausted?

2) What will the global number resource management look like after the exhaustion of the central IANA Pool and that of AfriNIC?

3) What about the IPv6 solution?

The Results of our analyses envisage the exhaustion of the IANA pool for approximately July 25th 2010 and the AfriNIC pool for August 2011 that is after 4 years and 6 months.

4) How can AfriNIC plan for this date which will most probably occur earlier than envisaged?

Several actions are possible, requiring local, regional, but also global action. Let us try to define the foundations of some possible approaches.

a. To Sensitize the community about the situation in order to enable the operators avoid the related surprises and emergencies so that they can get ready for the exhaustion. This sensitization should include short and long term solutions. In this context, the creation of a SIG (Specific Interest Group) dedicated to this problem and to solutions focused on the realities of our region is recommended.

b. To Start an active campaign to recover unrouted allocated addresses in the AfriNIC pool. How much will there be? For how many months or years will the life of the pool be extended? What resources does AfriNIC have to recover those blocks for which the significant part is derived from the allocations made before the RIR system and identified as legacy space?

Here are series of questions which deserve extensive consideration in the coming days.

c. To constitute a reserve in the remaining pool to be used to supply critical infrastructure for which their sustainability and development are vital for the stability of network after August 11th 2011. What size should this reserve be? Will the global community support the allocation of IP to RIRs to satisfy this reservation?

A new definition of the term "critical infrastructure" would perhaps be necessary. Beside the classic and known definition (Root servers, and IXPs), what will the others be in 2011? Governmental or inter-governmental networks? Research Center Networks? Medical networks? Networks for the measure and prevention of natural disasters? ...

d. To Open a global debate on the use of the 16 /8s reserved by the IETF for "future use"

e. To Open discussions on a global level for the management of the remaining pool. Will an equitable distribution of the remaining pool among the 5 RIRs be conceivable?


5) What will the situation after August 11th 2011 be?

AfriNIC would probably be able to satisfy the "critical infrastructure", but may not be able to do much for the other categories. The latter will be confronted by the black market of IP addresses. It will be very hard and expensive to get IP addresses and there will be an excessive inclination to the usage of NAT which will negatively impact the network.

Will the certification of used numbers by the registries help in the regulation of the market that will have emerged then? In fact, with resource certification deployed and utilized, it could allow to provide services such as the integrity of transferred resources, Transfer of ownership and Exclusivity of transfers.


6) What about the IPv6 solution?

All the suggested actions listed above and those that will be based on IPv4 will only be temporary and will in reality be a transition solution to extend the use of IPv4 for a while. The solution resides in the long-term perspective, the availability of a broader range of addresses offered by IPv6. It is imperative and otherwise vital for the survival of the Internet that particular attention is paid to IPv6 in the deployment of networks in our region.

This mobilization must be at all development chain levels in Communication Technologies. Governments have a primordial role to play in this domain aiming clearly at the appropriation and deployment of IPv6-ready networks and applications in our countries. It will be necessary to get firmly involved in the campaigns of information and training on IPv6.

The SIG above will have among others, a role to establish a reliable document database aimed at the operators on the transition and migration mechanisms of IPv4 networks to IPv6. Since December 2005, AfriNIC has launched an information campaign which followed the removal of financial charges for the allocation of IPv6 addresses. AfriNIC has been able to train network operators in 8 African countries and to increase the number of IPv6 allocations in the region by more than 400 %, but this still represents only less than 10% of the networks using IPv4. Daily BGP statistics ( show that less than 30 % of IPv6 allocations are visible on the internet. The path is still long and requires collective responsibility.


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