Taking off from where I left off last month….There are < 10% of the reserved blocks from IANA left to allocate, which means there is only about twenty-six 256 blocks. At this rate, the allocation of all addresses will happen on September 23, 2011. This is actually 17 extra days then I reported last month.
But wait- that’s only about 626 days from now….and when I wrote my last blog around Thanksgiving, 30 more days have passed- time is running out quick.
Also remember in my last blog I told you that a new RIR policy was created in 2008 that tells the IANA “When you’ve just allocated the last of six /8 network blocks, give us the remaining five unallocated network blocks!”, so right now we only have nineteen more block to hand out before this happens!
Looking back, It would have been helpful if the original designers didn’t reserve so many addresses to begin with when allocating IPv4 addresses. Here is the breakdown (remember that each /8 represent 16,777,216 addresses!):
- Sixteen /8’s for multicast use. This is probably the most useful reserved address space, but this is still more reserved addresses than are typically used.
- Sixteen /8’s for some unspecified “future use” that never happened…
- One /8 for local identification (0.0.0.0). Cisco had also reserved this range for router broadcast use that never happened.
- One /8 block for private use (10.0.0.0/8) – this one is actually helpful, and not too wasteful at all.
- And here’s a head scratcher for you…18.104.22.168/8…Something about public data networks, but I’ve never seen this used, and we never will either.
• And let’s just end with my personal favorite: 127.0.0.1/8. Now who was the genius that thought of this beauty? 16 million+ addresses wasted just to test your local IP stack. Nice.
• And the addresses ranges from 240.0.0.0 on up are reserved as well in RFC 3330 for some future use that we’ll never see as well.
Now I am no math genius, but if you take all those /8 addresses reserved (not counting the 240 through 255 addresses, which is a lot more addresses!) and if you multiple them by 16,777,216…well, now that’s a lot of reserved addresses. 603,979,776 to be exact, and considering that we only have about 318 million address left to allocate (to IANA & RIPE) worldwide – for the rest of our lives – this just shows how wasteful the designers of the first RFC’s were. And just as another reminder: we need about 190 million new addresses a year – and that is in this bad economy too. What happens if we get another rebound in the economy worldwide?
Sooner or later the unallocated address pools will run out for each RIR which means that life of an IPv4 network will be harder and harder to maintain, and certainly more expensive! Just try and buy some /28 or /29 addresses for your small company or home business and see how much the prices have already sky rocketed!
If this exhaustion problem hasn’t already made you very aware that you need to start deploying IPv6 products and services as soon as possible, then nothing will change your mind at this point.
So, what are your options? If you are an IT professional, get in an IPv6 class and just start learning some basics. If you are running a routed network, put together a test bed of routers running dual-stack routing and get some hands-on experience.
As for Cisco, my CCNP certification class is doing more and more IPv6 configurations every month now, and I have heard that Cisco is going to go even deeper into IPv6 even at the CCNA level. So at a minimum, get a book and start reading up on IPv6…it is in your future!