IPv4 space redistribution threatens to disrupt Internet

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IPv4 space redistribution threatens to disrupt Internet

The regional Internet community is debating four separate proposals on how to redistribute IPv4 address space at the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) 27 meeting in Manila this week.

Four of the seven policy proposals up for debate at the meeting relate to the transfer of already-allocated IPv4 address space, either between resource holders or regional Internet registries (RIRs).

APNIC said it expects "hot debate" over the proposals, which would permit easy transfers of space between resource holders.

The centre currently only permits inter-organisational transfers under very specific circumstances such as following mergers and acquisitions.

Paul Wilson, director general of APNIC, said that while networks are being transitioned to IPv6, the IPv4 protocol would remain an important part of the Internet "for many years".

"Strong demand is predicted to continue long after the free pool of unallocated [IPv4] resources is exhausted," Wilson said.

"There are justifiable community concerns that the remaining free pool of unallocated address space is distributed fairly in accordance with the global and regional community's wishes.

"There is also a recognition that the community would benefit by being able to redistribute address space where needed."

Wilson said that while there was "general community agreement" that the transfer of IPv4 resources will become necessary to facilitate redistribution of unused address space once the free pool is exhausted, the exact procedures and policies were proving far more contentious.

"Some community members believe an ill-conceived or poorly regulated system could disadvantage developing economies, lead to profiteering, or cause a loss of accuracy in the APNIC Whois Database and disrupt the smooth operation of the Internet in the region," Wilson said.

APNIC has been a consistent voice in the region trying to get the majority of carriers and ISPs to take notice of the impending exhaustion of IPv4 addresses.

Back in mid-2008, it accused the industry of implicitly selecting the failure option for IPv6 by not deploying it sooner.

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