IP protocols/software

Nortel Sells IPv4 Addresses

Two years after its bankruptcy filing, Nortel Networks Ltd. still has things to sell.

Bankruptcy court documents say Nortel put 666,624 IPv4 addresses up for sale last year, and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) emerged as the winner this week, with a $7.5 million bid.

As Domain Incite notes, that's $11.25 per address, making the IPv4 address space theoretically worth around $48.3 billion.

Why this matters
As the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) ran out of IPv4 numbers, everybody liked to joke that a black market for addresses might pop up. "Black market" is a bit of a misnomer, given that the sales are done on the up-and-up, but the deal shows that if you've got enough addresses, you can find a buyer.

For more
Here's more on the IPv4 apocalypse (and on Nortel's other pending selloffs).

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:09:29 PM
re: Nortel Sells IPv4 Addresses

Thanks! Yeah, I wouldn't exactly take that valuation to the bank, but it's fun to ponder.

I was IM'ing with Jeff Baumgartner about this today... we're waiting for the Nortel garage sale stage, when they get down to selling the old credenzas and the record collection.

4mTx 12/5/2012 | 5:09:29 PM
re: Nortel Sells IPv4 Addresses

Yes, the math works, (256^4)*$11.25 = $48.3B. Whether this is meaningful is another question...

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:09:29 PM
re: Nortel Sells IPv4 Addresses

You can't literally say the IPv4 address space is now worth $48.3 billion, I know. I just love that that Kevin Murphy of Data Incite did the math. (I didn't take a second to double-check it yet. Anybody?)

I'd also agree with his hunch that we won't see many of these kinds of sales -- Nortel's situation is unique. Still, it goes to show: There are willing buyers.


somedumbPM 12/5/2012 | 5:09:28 PM
re: Nortel Sells IPv4 Addresses

I still have 2 of those IPs stuck in my head from more than 10 years ago. 

For some reason stuff like that never falls out of my memory and they continue to take up slots that could be used for other numbers like girlfriend's birthdays that never seem to find a home up there.


Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:09:27 PM
re: Nortel Sells IPv4 Addresses

GeekWire asked Microsoft and got an official statement: The addresses are for "online services, particularly enterprise cloud services"


Microsoft is counting on having to support services to networks that are slow to move to IPv6.  In other words, they have to accommodate the laggards.

That's been my contention for some time: The burden of the IPv6 transition falls on the side of the IPv6 networks. They'll be doing all the work to make sure they can still contact IPv4 users.

Darkness 12/5/2012 | 5:09:27 PM
re: Nortel Sells IPv4 Addresses

So what is the point of paying for those IPv4 addresses as there is a migration from IPv4 to IPv6?

Also, is the price for an IPv4 adress expected to be more/less/same as an iPv6 address?


optobozo 12/5/2012 | 5:09:25 PM
re: Nortel Sells IPv4 Addresses

I have fond memories of the address space before it was acquired and re-acquired.  I wonder if that block is part of the deal?  WHOIS doesn't indicate a change (at least yet).

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