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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Use of IPv4 declines – Report

Cover of the week:
Despite the intentions of some stakeholders to accommodate the Internet Protocol version six (IPv6), reports disclosed that version four (IPv4) is on the decline curve in terms of usage.

Internet Protocol version 4 is the current common version of the Internet Protocol, the “IP” portion of Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol ((TCP/IP), which assumes the position of dominant protocol suite in the worldwide Internet. TCP is Layer 4, otherwise known as the transport layer (TCP/IP) in IPv4, which allows for approximately four billion IP numbers.

Also, IPv4 is the most widely used version of IP nowadays, which uses a system of unique 32-bit identifiers to address data to computers (or hosts) on the Internet, according to Wikipedia.com, just as experts said it has 128 Class A addresses but only about 64 have been used.

This may bring a lull in the acceptance and enthronement of IPv6 full time either by relevant authorities managing IP addresses or the global coordinating agency, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Before now the fear has been that IPv4 would soon run out of IP addresses hence the move to introduce IPv6 to contain more Internet users growing desire.

This came as ICANN weekend announced the global policy proposal for the remaining IPv4 address space.

According to the 2007 IPv4 address use report, made available to Champion Infotel, the number of available IPv4 addresses went down from 1300.65 million to 1122.85 million, thus leaving a difference of 177.8 million addresses.

The report released by protocol routing entity, the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), indicated that the number of usable addresses is 3706.65 million as at end of December 2007, therefore showing that on January 1, 2007 global utilization recorded 64.9 per cent and by the last quarter of the same year it was at 69.7 per cent.

These figures, the report said were derived from the records published on the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers of the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), namely AfriNIC, which offers address space exclusively for Africa, APNIC for Asia-Pacific region, ARIN for North America, LACNIC for Latin America and the Caribbean and RIPE NCC for Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.

As stated by the report, there are two other ways to interpret the same data; first by way of simply adding up all the address space with a date indicating that it was given out in year 2007, which is 186.93 million addresses.

While the second in this order is to compensate four ARIN’s record keeping peculiarities which tends to bring the total for 2007 to no less than 196.77 million, presumably the highest number ever.

However, the second highest was 1991 with 189 million addresses, whereas the 196.77 million figure is approximated at 19 per cent higher than the 2005 and 2006 numbers and were largely the same.

For instance, the report noted that in 2007 one of the old Class A blocks – 46.0.0.0/8, was returned to the Internet Assigned Name Authority (IANA), which is the first time in many years.

This returned blocks represent 16.78 million addresses in size and is now part of the global pool of free address space, thereby accounting for the difference between the 177.8 and 196.77 numbers.

BGP report outlined the status of 221 usable blocks of 16.78 million addresses with AfriNIC delegated two blocks amounting to 33.55 million addresses, APNIC 26 blocks with 436.21 million addresses, ARIN 27 blocks with 452.98 addresses and LACNIC got six with 100.66.

Also the report stated that RIPE NCC has 26 with 436.21 million addresses, while various got 49 with 822.08, end-user 42 with 704.64 and available blocks were fixed at 43 with 721.42.

Additionally, the 43 unused blocks of 721.42 million addresses currently in custody of IANA was reported to be free space in the form of addresses delegated from IANA to the regional Internet registries, but not yet further delegated by the RIR in question to an Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or end-users.

In a related development, ICANN announced the final call for comments on the proposed global policy for allocation of IPv6 address space.

Champion Infotel recalls that on July 13, 2006, the Secretary of the Address Supporting Organization Address Council forwarded to ICANN a proposed global policy for allocation of IPv6 address space.

This proposed global policy had been submitted to the ASO AC by the Executive Council of the Number Resource Organization on June 6, 2006 and adopted by the ASO AC on 12 July 2006.

The development of global Internet Number Resource Policies is the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ASO/NRO and ICANN.

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