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Our Take-RIPE 70 and IPv4 Transfers

by Hilco Streambank | May 29, 2015

Our team has been regularly attending RIPE meetings for several years, and we’ve been sponsoring these meetings almost since the start of our involvement.  Our sponsorships, while they serve the purpose of advertising our IPv4 brokerage and transfer services, also demonstrate our support for the RIPE community and the good work of its members in seamlessly delivering your packets (email, Youtube videos, Facebook posts, Tweets, Skype calls, and web pages) around the world.  As avid users of the internet, we often take for granted, the many thousands of individuals who keep it running smoothly each and every day.

The RIPE community has dealt with the IPv4 address shortage in a way that strikes a balance between the collective and commercial interests.  On the one hand, RIPE’s policies maintain a reserve pool of addresses for newcomers such as start-ups to be launched by children who may not yet have been born, while promoting the commercial interests of established firms whose continued growth requires more addresses.  Because the RIPE region was not originally endowed with as much IPv4 space as the ARIN region (both in absolute numbers and on a per-capita basis) they have been operating under an austerity policy for quite some time, and the IPv4 trading market seems to have slowed as supply becomes increasingly hard to find.  In response, the RIPE community has adopted rule changes to facilitate the transfer of acquired address space from ARIN and APNIC.  These rule changes are being forecasted to become effective as soon as the RIPE-NCC has completed the engineering necessary to process these transfers.  The community is currently preparing to have the transfer policy fully in effect by mid-August 2015.

A few non-technical highlights from the conference include a talk by APNIC’s Geoff Huston (Check out the presentation here) who attempted to answer the chicken and egg conundrum about building global networks.  If the internet is an organism comprised of content and eyeballs, and the middle layers that connect the two …. And if they are all connected currently on IPv4, then which one will build its IPv6 capacity first and how long will it take the others to follow?  This becomes more complex when one layers on all of the various economic factors including the cost of engineering resources, hardware upgrades, the profitability of submarkets, and the cost of capital.  Geoff, brought the community back to business school basics with an attempt to estimate the “value” of the audience served by the world’s top 30 ISPs, and not surprisingly, IPv6 adoption appears to be highest in those markets which can afford the “luxury.”  It’s worth noting that in the US, for example, internet penetration to end users (broadband to the home and mobile network connectivity) is above 90% but that in other countries around the world, that number is often as low as 20%.  As implementation costs come down with experience, adoption should continue to spread.  However, best estimates are that it will take over a decade to reach the world’s population on IPv6 and IPv4 will still be firmly installed as a global network.

Next stop is NANOG 64 in San Francisco, June 1-3, 2015.

Written by:
Gabe Fried
Hilco Streambank