RIPE NCC now allocating IPv4 address space from the last /8 netblock

Europe officially runs out of IPv4 addresses

RIPE NCC now allocating IPv4 address space from the last /8 netblock

by Iljitsch van Beijnum - Sep 14, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

Earlier today, the RIPE NCC (R�seaux IP Europ�ens Network Coordination
Centre) announced it is down to its last "/8" worth of IPv4 addresses. This
means that it is no longer possible to obtain new IPv4 addresses in Europe,
the former USSR, or the Middle East, with one small exception: every network
operator that is a "RIPE member" or "local Internet registry" (LIR) can
obtain one final block of 1024 IPv4 addresses. To fulfill these requests, the
RIPE NCC is keeping that last /8, which contains 16.8 million addresses, in
reserve. RIPE NCC

None of this comes as a surprise given that the global pool of free IPv4
addresses was emptied in February 2011. APNIC, which distributes IP addresses
in the Asia-Pacific region, ran out of IPv4 addresses in May 2011; it has
been working under the "final /8" regime ever since. The remaining three
Regional Internet Registries are AfriNIC (Africa), LACNIC (Latin America and
the Caribbean), and ARIN (North America), which all have enough IPv4
addresses to last at least two more years.

Since the depletion of IPv4 address space in the APNIC region, little
information has surfaced about how network operators in the region have
managed the situation. However, the lack of IPv4 addresses only impacts
organizations and consumers who need additional addresses, or who need
addresses for the first time. Existing IPv4 users remain unaffected, and so
the immediate impact is limited. Also, large network operators get large
address blocks from the RIRs and they typically have a pool of unused
addresses of their own, so few will be experiencing immediate problems.

However, every year for the past five years, some 200 million new IPv4
addresses have been put into use. Without a steady supply of fresh addresses,
many Internet-related activities are going to become problematic in the years
to come. Fortunately, 20 years ago the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
foresaw that the 3.7 billion addresses afforded by the 32-bit IPv4 address
space would become a problem, and started working on a replacement: IPv6. But
the IPv4 depletion didn't happen as fast as the IETF originally predicted,
and IPv6 adoption has languished. But recently, IPv6 adoption got a big push
in the form of World IPv6 Launch. Eventually, IPv6 will replace IPv4, but the
transition won't be pretty. Reader comments 19

Iljitsch van Beijnum / Iljitsch is a contributing writer at Ars Technica,
where he contributes articles about network protocols as well as Apple
topics. He is currently finishing his Ph.D work at the telematics department
at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) in Spain. @iljitsch