After seeing a retweet on twitter of John Graham-Cumming’s blog post about the UK DWP having a full /8 of IPv4 address space that it, “isn’t using”, I was pretty annoyed. This is very short-sighted.
Let me be very clear: IPv4 is done, move on. Despite large amounts of it being assigned in vast swathes in the early 90′s, no amount of it being returned is going to last the world for very long. 16M addresses in a /8 is absolutely nothing when you consider the rate at which RIPE (and this doesn’t account for any other region) was dishing-out address blocks to LIRs and end-users. They allocated 4M addresses in ~10 days. Even with an increased rate that accounts for the ‘land-rush’ factor, another /8 isn’t going to last any meaningful amount of time at all.
Furthermore, does anyone think the US DoD will hand back their early-nineties Direct IANA Assignment, 11/8? Probably not! And there’s about as much chance as our own government handing back 51/8, too.
The entire world needs to let-go of this ridiculously-limited resource. No-one ever intended for IPv4 to be used to the extent that it has been (including Vint Cerf himself). RIRs, CIDR & the scourge of the modern Internet, NAT, have all been prolonging the inevitable fact that we need a better solution for the Internet, in its current (and future) state.
Whether anyone likes it or not, that solution is IPv6. It’s taken decades to get to where it is, it’s mature and — get ready for a shocker — it’s already bloody working. Now is not the time to start thinking ‘oh but there’s some un-used space back here that we could use to prolong it’, nor is it the time to re-invent some new means to address the Internet. It’s too late, way too late.
This blog follows on from a recent spiel of thoughts on IRC (me = teh) that I can’t be bothered to paraphrase in order to sugar-coat it. I think I’ve spoken my mind though, even if it is a bit jagged:
[marcus] http://blog.jgc.org/2012/09/the-uk-has-entire-unused-ipv4-8-that-is.html * teh explodes in a fit of rage [teh] More feet-dragging [james] who from? [teh] 'Oh look, someone has some addresses we can use for the next few months! THEY MUST LET US HAVE THEM!' [teh] The general public (well, the ones that have only just learnt about legacy allocations) [james] url? [teh] As above? [james] ah [james] they don't know if it's unused [james] it's just not publicly routed [james] it's probably used internally [james] are they going to suggest we should have 10/8 on the internet too? [teh] This is what I've said, though I don't think anyone's really listening [teh] Or 11/8 [teh] If you compare the situation behind 51/8 to 11/8, people might realise that government are the last people that are going to hand-back space to IANA [teh] And even then, where the hell would a few /8's get the world? No-where for very long. [marcus] teh: Nailed it
The sooner everyone stops labouring under a false pretence (the one where IPv4 depletion won’t affect them), the sooner we’ll be able to get on and do something sensible with Internet addressing. The quicker we have the IPv6 ‘flash point’, the better.
(Can’t believe anyone’s had me worked-up enough to actually blog about something. Sheesh. )