IP protocols/software

You Won't Find IPv4 Numbers on eBay

The near exhaustion of IPv4 addresses isn't likely to result in a stampede for the final few addresses held by the regional Internet authorities, but there could well be some creative bargaining between companies that have unused addresses and those that need them. (See Global IPv4 Counter Hits Zero.)

IPv4 address hoarding isn't possible, maintains John Curran, president and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) , one of the regional Internet registries that will now share all the remaining IPv4 numbers. Anyone requesting IPv4 numbers must demonstrate need and show how previous allocations of numbers have been used, he says.

Nor can service providers or large businesses sell their remaining blocks of IPv4 numbers. "The numbers are not their property," Curran says.

But companies that still have unused IPv4 numbers, or that are willing to reconfigure and thus reduce their use of existing numbers -- using network address translation devices, for example -- may be able to make money transferring them to other companies in need.

So how would this work?
According to Curran, Company A that needs IPv4 addresses would come to ARIN with documented need, and be approved, and then make a deal with Company B, which has the addresses, and ARIN would grant the transfer. Money could pass between the two companies.

"Say a company reconfigures its network arrangement and now needs only half of its address," Curran says. "There is effort involved in doing that and it is fair for that company to be incented to make those changes."

The Internet community has created policies that govern this process and companies must follow those policies, he adds.

Some of the excess number blocks date back to the earliest days of the Internet, when IPv4 numbers blocks only came in three sizes: Class A had 256 addresses; Class B had about 64,000; and Class C had 16 million.

Internet pioneers who needed, say, 64,300, wound up with way more than they needed, but Curran points out that many companies -- including the U.S. Department of Defense, Stanford University and the Interop tradeshow -- have turned in the excess numbers to ARIN for redistribution. (See Interop Gives Back IPv4 Numbers.)

Curran's greater concern is that service providers and Web content providers alike step up their efforts to be IPv6 ready by supporting access to Internet content by both the IPv4 and IPv6 end points. For service providers, that largely involves dual-stacking within the network, and creating gateway points with transition devices that will connect newer IPv6 users to Internet content that is still in the IPv4 realm, and vice versa.

Where those transition devices will be located and how well they will function remains an open question, Curran says, and there is concern that latency introduced at a gateway point will disrupt some applications, such as gaming, VoIP and streaming audio/video.

Concerns about IPv6 introduction
There is also concern that IPv6 might not be turned on correctly -- that users might turn on IPv6 when they don't have that kind of connectivity, Curran says. That creates problems because any website set up to support IPv6 will default to that setting and create connectivity problems for the user.

On World IPv6 Day, set for June 8, major content providers such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Facebook have agreed to conduct a 24-hour test during which they will make their primary sites -- which currently are IPv4-based -- support both IPv4 and IPv6, so that mis-configurations can be identified and fixed. Currently, the major content providers have separate IPv4 and IPv6 sites.

For more
Here's a look at more IPv6 news:

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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jcurranarin 12/5/2012 | 5:13:42 PM
re: You Won't Find IPv4 Numbers on eBay

Nothing prevents using an auction from matching holders and bidders in the ARIN region, but just be certain that all bidders acknowledged by bidding that they are a qualified recipient per ARIN's policies.  There is even a listing service at ARIN where approved recipients (per the community developed policies) can be verified -https://www.arin.net/resources...



John Curran

President and CEO


hwg434 12/5/2012 | 5:13:44 PM
re: You Won't Find IPv4 Numbers on eBay

I remember learning (at a TCP/IP course that I took when I worked for them, back in the day) that Nortel had an entire /8 block of IP addresses.  They should have tried putting them on Ebay... maybe they could have avoided bankrupcy!


cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:13:47 PM
re: You Won't Find IPv4 Numbers on eBay

Actually John Curran, who is an outgoing guy, wouldn't argue with some of what you've said here. ARIN doensn't have any authority over those legacy number blocks, other than to ask those holding the blocks to return any unused numbers, which Curran has done. Some institutions - he cites the U.S. Department of Defense, BBN, Stanford University and Interop -- have done just that.

But Curran does maintain that any transfer of number blocks does have to go through ARIN but ONLY to the extent that the company receiving the numbers is deemed qualified, based on showing need and following the ARIN policies. How much the recipient pays to get those numbers is not ARIN's business, as Curran readily admits.

That would seem to conflict with the notion that legacy IPv4 number holders can just sell them to the highest bidder.

ETaggert 12/5/2012 | 5:13:50 PM
re: You Won't Find IPv4 Numbers on eBay

Classful Blocks are known as follows;

Class A (now known as a /8 or 'slash eight') = 16,777,216 addresses

Class B (now known as a /16 or 'slash sixteen') = 65,536 addresses

Class C (now known as a /24 or 'slash twenty-four') = 256 addresses


More importantly, nearly 40% of the entire numbers were allocated/granted before the Regional Internet Registries were conceived. Therefore they are known as "legacy" allocations which ARIN and its ilk have zero, yes, none, claim to since they were a complete spin-out of the hated Network Solutions of old (NetSol which was bought by VeriSign) to avoid anti-trust for Domain Names. 

Ask a CFO of one of the "legacy" holders if those allocations are property. They will tell you emphatically that they are their company's sole right and property. Until the IANA exhaust no one cared. Now you will see those early registration which are unused being offered via open and transparent methods.  More bidders the better I bet they will say.

Oh, and ARIN? They will soon be relegated to the dustbin of Internet history. I met John Curran once, he loves to hear himself talk. But the fact is that ARIN has no "implied" duty to the legacy holders. Not my words, their legal counsel said it a few years back at one of the ARIN meetings. If they have no implied duty to them, then they have no implied authority either. 

sgamble 12/5/2012 | 5:13:51 PM
re: You Won't Find IPv4 Numbers on eBay

Some data for you to aid in your questions to John.


Last time I checked, some of these /8s were assigned but not being announced.  Some of them do fall in ARIN assignments.


Thanks for asking this.


7 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

9 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

19 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

21 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

22 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

25 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

26 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

28 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

29 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

30 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

48 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

51 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

54 0 0 0 0 16777216 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

sgamble 12/5/2012 | 5:13:52 PM
re: You Won't Find IPv4 Numbers on eBay

I wonder if John/ARIN would comment on the /8 blocks not being routed (even if they are from other regions such as the 25.x.x.x/8 in the UK).  Are companies who have hoarded /8 blocks and are not routing them being asked to return them? 

Thank you,


cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:13:52 PM
re: You Won't Find IPv4 Numbers on eBay

I'm talking to John today and I'll ask him that question.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:13:55 PM
re: You Won't Find IPv4 Numbers on eBay

Renting of IPv4 addresses -- that sounds interesting.

Africa's will be the last of the five regions to have IPv4 address available, in all probability. Can we look forward to Nigerian spam offering up IPv4 addresses?

cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:13:56 PM
re: You Won't Find IPv4 Numbers on eBay

Interesting information -thanks for sharing.  I'll be sure to ask ARIN more about that.

TomS6 12/5/2012 | 5:13:57 PM
re: You Won't Find IPv4 Numbers on eBay

Class A had 256 addresses; Class B had about 64,000; and Class C had 16 million.


I think you've got that backwards: Class C had 256 addresses; Class B had about 64,000; and Class A had 16 million.


2 things the article didn't mention: that there's nothing in place today to keep Company X from paying Company Y for a service and Company X allowing Company Y to use Company X's IP address space without any justification at all; and that ARIN's membership is considering actively investigating for fraud and misuse, whereas today they only react to reported issues related to their registry service.

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