Global IPv4 Shortage Now Critical
It’s happening. The moment many of us have anticipated since RIPE announced they had assigned their last /21 IP block. The first data centre in Europe has run out of IPv4 addresses. So, what does this mean for users in Europe?
RIPE is a not-for-profit organization. Its aim was to fairly share IPs out to users in Europe. For years, warnings have been sounded that these IPs have been running out. The slow adoption of IPv6 has meant demand has outstripped supply for IPv4 addresses. With new technology like 5G allowing anything from Kettles and fridges to cookers and TVs and even your doorbell to be connected to the internet, this has placed further pressure on the supply of addresses.
IPv4 Broker Sales
Datacentres & Host’s in Europe that exhaust the supply of RIPE addresses are forced to buy new blocks from Brokers. When buying from brokers supply and demand stipulates the price. At the time of writing this, a single IPv4 is averaging $47 and a /17 IP block on ipv4.global is priced at $1,572,864,00. Datacentres & Host’s have no choice but to pass the cost on to consumers.
Recently, broker sites have been selling ARIN IPs to RIPE customers in Europe. This is going to have a knock-on effect on prices in North America. As the European RIPE users gobble up all of the spare ARIN IP blocks this will increase prices further. Eventually, the supply will be totally depleted and there will be no more IPv4 addresses. At which point, the price of an IPv4 will skyrocket. IPv4 addresses are now a commodity like Gold.
Spare IPv4 Addresses
What is totally baffling is there are actually plenty of IPv4 addresses out there not being used but are reserved. Block 240.0.0.0/8 is reserved for “future use” and contains 16,777,216 IPv4 addresses. Ford motor company is assigned block 126.96.36.199/8, another 16,777,216 IPv4 addresses. The UK Ministry of defence is assigned block 188.8.131.52/8, another 16,777,216 IPv4 addresses.
The reality is there are plenty of IPv4 addresses out there but they are not usable. To continue to provide services, providers are forced to pay the market rate and pass this cost on to consumers.
This price is expected to increase over the next ten years until IPv6 is adopted on a large scale. Services will become more expensive, pricing some consumers out of the market and making some businesses unviable.
F2H is not immune to the IPv4 shortage, we have just assigned our last German /64 IP block to our German NVMe cluster. To provide further IPs in Germany we now must purchase from brokers. Eventually, this situation will hit other regions as we exhaust our supply of RIPE IPs. IP supply in London is already under pressure.
In most developed countries, consumers are ready for IPv6. In the UK most home broadband users now connect to the internet using an IPv6 address automatically. If a website is not configured to use IPv6 then they default to their Iv4 address. Businesses can reduce costs by configuring IPv6 and removing IPv4 addresses. This has bad implications for nations that do not default to IPv6 or ISPs that are not yet compatible with IPv6. Removing your IPv4 address would mean these users could not connect to your service.
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