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Is It Time to Create a Market for IPv4 Addresses?

It’s fascinating to watch the Internet technical community grapple with policy economics as they face the problems creating by the growing scarcity of IPv4 addresses. The Internet Governance Project (IGP) is analyzing the innovative policies that ARIN, RIPE and APNIC are considering as a response to the depletion of IPv4 addresses. Address transfers would allow organizations holding IPv4 addresses to sell address blocks to other organizations willing to buy them. Transfer markets have been proposed as a pragmatic way to extend the life of the legacy IP address space, and to shift v4 addresses from lower-valued to higher-valued uses in response to the economic pressures created by depletion of the free pool. These proposals are generating a lot of debate among those active in the RIRs. The IGP analysis is being serialized in five parts on the IGP blog. It examines the arguments for and against the policies, compares and contrasts the RIPE, ARIN and APNIC proposals for transfer markets, and weighs the impact transfers might have on the transition to IPv6. After July 20 the paper will be as a single download at the IGP publications page.

By Milton Mueller, Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy

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Has it been "CircleIDed" ? Simon Waters  –  Jul 14, 2008 7:22 PM

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One approach I haven’t seen discussed is reclaiming IP space from groups involved in illegal activity. There is vast amounts of IPv4 address space used by a relatively small number of spammers and crooks which could be reallocated with a general decrease in noise on the net. Of course it would need clear policies, but it would get my support. That with a little bit of reclaiming long unused space, and we are good for a few years yet.

Yup, for example this Wash Post blog .. Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  Jul 16, 2008 11:20 PM

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2008/04/a_case_of_network_identity_the_1.html Sure, it is just a few /16s so far (and there's another spammer who managed to get a fresh /15 and two /17s, and sundry other space, from RIPE, pretending to be various DSL networks in eastern europe .. though they're all emitting spam advertising various US companies) .. Drops in a bucket, I guess.

Drops Simon Waters  –  Jul 17, 2008 7:30 AM

Yeah, well I guess whilst IANA have 10%+ of the existing space unallocated it isn’t exactly urgent despite what some folks claim. And a fair few of those early /8 allocations are clearly ridiculous.

If a market is to work it has to persuade people to return /8 allocations, or portions of. I think that will be hard, because a lot of these organisation don’t know they even have this space, probably best to start with writing to the biggest allocations and asking nicely.

That said I think it might be appropriate to put the abuse clauses in place, and the procedures to enforce them, because we need a stick to keep folks in line.

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