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IP protocols/software

Avast! The IPv4 Black Market!

2:30 PM -- InfoWorld published a story on Monday about concerns of a black market for IPv4 addresses. Ars Technica has a kind of rebuttal posted today, however, saying it's not convinced.

The black market argument is rather obvious: With IPv4 numbers running out, and the 100 percent certainty that some operators won't change to IPv6 until beyond the last minute, speculators could hoard numbers and start handing them out only for a price.

But I have to side with Ars Technica, which rips several holes in the argument. Here are a few:
  • IPv4 numbers are essentially free -- meaning, what the large operators pay for large blocks of numbers is a pittance, relatively. Operators will resist paying more.
  • Black-market addresses would probably come in blocks smaller than the operators normally buy. Making lots of small transactions isn't exactly a quick fix.
  • Network address translation (NAT) is still an option for those large operators and could conserve some large chunks of IPv4 addresses.
  • As for small operators, Ars Technica reasons that they don't have the buying power to create a very interesting black market in the first place.


You can read both articles and pick your sides, while learning your ARIN from your RIR. Ars Technica does drop one interesting bit of trivia: One of the entities that holds two "/8" blocks -- more than 33 million addresses, or 1 percent of the IPv4 pie! -- is HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ). So, the black market might not be so seamy after all; maybe you could bundle a block of IPv4 addresses with your latest ProCurve purchase.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:37:09 PM
re: Avast! The IPv4 Black Market!

Well, shiver me timbers. I guess I finally found an IPv6 angle that actually interests me.

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