USA runs out of IPv4 addresses

Technologists have known for years that we would run out of IPv4 addresses, which is why the IPv6 standard was created in the late 1990s.


Marking an important milestone in the evolution of the Internet, the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the nonprofit association that manages the distribution of Internet number resources for its region, announced today that it has issued the final IPv4 addresses in its free pool.

“We are well on the way to enabling all of our Internet properties with IPv6, and past year we became the first major U.S. ISP to deploy “dual-stack” connectivity (so named because it supports both IPv4 and IPv6 connections) throughout 100 percent of our network”, Brzozowski said in a blog post.

IPv4 dates back to 1981.

If the current scarcity of IPV4 addresses continue, it could come to haunt us as some authorities are proposing marketplaces for buying and selling IP Address blocks, which in turn could mean more fees for everyday Internet access for home and business users. An IP address is written in dotted decimal, which is four sets of numbers separated by a period, Here, each set represents an 8-bit number ranging from (0-255). When the Internet was developed forty years ago, 4,294,967,296 32-bit network addresses seemed like plenty for an experiment.

[Read InformationWeek’s interview with Vint Cerf.].

Migration from IPv4 to IPv6 can cause headaches for some types of organizations, and there is a chicken-and-egg problem as some content providers wait for consumers to start using the newer protocol.

However, with the projected growth in IoT and the concomitant need for new IP addresses for those devices, there is no other way to proceed in order to gain the IP addresses that will be needed. Specifically, it has to fill waiting-list requests for IPv4 addresses before adding IPv4 addresses to its free pool. The size of that range wasn’t specified in the FAQ, but organizations could find out that they are requesting blocks of addresses that are too large for ARIN to fill.


There is also the Transfer market. Those companies who have been approved requests for IPv4 addresses, but haven’t received them yet, are being put on a waiting list that will be fulfilled by future revocations or returns from other organisations. “IPv4 transfers allow organizations with unused IPv4 addresses to release them to another qualifying organization under applicable policy”.

ARIN: IPv4 Addresses Have Finally Run Dry