Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

IPv4 is dead, long live IPv4

The Internet Governance Project is blogging a new paper (i.e., releasing a position paper via blog entries) on address transfer markets for IPv4 address ranges. Traditionally, address ranges are not property--- the registries could take them back, in theory. In practice that doesn't work so well. There are a lot of legacy /8 address ranges (2^24-address chunks) held by organizations that don't really need that much public address space. I think (without having yet read Milton Mueller's paper) that this is a step in the right direction--- even the dedicated technocrats of the regional address registries probably can't allocate these resources better than the market can.

So why not just shift over to IPv6? Because the same arguments and economic analysis my advisor and I made in 2000 are still true. IPv6 does not replace NAT; IPv6 instead requires NAT for compatibility with the rest of the world. Given the choice between IPv4 + NAT and IPv6 + NAT + IPv4 there is not a whole lot to recommend the extra layer. (Especially since IPv6 fails to solve some of the real scalability concerns of the Internet...)

It's true that non-U.S. deployment of IPv6 may continue to grow, and software support increase. Heck, my laptop configures its interfaces with IPv6. (It wouldn't be the first time technical communities charged off in the wrong direction.) But I think address transfer markets will help clarify the real cost of IPv6 transition, by putting a fair price on globally routable addresses. If there is a lot of market demand for globally routable addresses, it will drive IPv6 adoption. If addresses are cheap, nobody will bother.
Tags: internet, ipv4, ipv6, policy
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