Tuesday, October 26, 2010

IPv4 address exhaustion

One of things that worries me about our current addressing state is that no progress seems to be being made in the US to switch over to IPv6. Everyone knows that IPv4 addresses are running very thin. Current projections (there are a lot more than this one) show that addresses, if allocated at their current rate, will result in address exhaustion by 2011. That’s not that far off! Another thing that worries me is that when IPv4 gets put on the endangered species list, a few individuals are going to take the opportunity to rob the world blind by selling IP address at exorbitantly high prices all because there is no other option for users to get a presence on the web. NAT is a band aid. NAT only works for larger organizations. NAT doesn’t work for the mom and pop internet shops that go out to hosting services and are required to buy a static IP so that they can use SSL to participate in the vast internet ecommerce community. The other issue I see is that when we really start scraping the bottom of the barrel, some consumers might be denied an IP address because there aren’t enough and the few that are left are reserved for those with deeper pockets.

It’s not like there is not a solution to the address problem. The solution has been around for a very long time and is implemented in every major operating system in the world. The only challenge we think we have is that of the IPv6 network stack not being compatible with IPv4’s. I think IPv6 is turned on by default in most operating systems. The only places I see problems would be the network itself. If there are still routers unable to run IPv6 then I think they needed to be replaced regardless because they are probably extremely old. I think it would be easier to deal with the pain of switching now, rather than later.

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