APNIC Reaches Final Stage of IPv4

As of April 15, 2011, APNIC (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre) reached the
last block of IPv4 addresses in its available pool, activating a major change
in regional delegation policy.

This event is a key turning point in IPv4 exhaustion for the Asia Pacific, as the
remaining IPv4 space will be -rationed’ to network operators to be used as
essential connectivity with next-generation IPv6 addresses. All new and
existing APNIC Members who meet the current allocation criteria will be
entitled to a maximum delegation of a /22 (1,024 addresses) of IPv4 space.

APNIC Director General Paul Wilson explained the Asia Pacific region is the first to reach the point of being unable to meet IPv4 demand. This is due to the unprecedented fixed and mobile network growth the region is experiencing.

“Considering the ongoing demand for IP addresses, this date effectively represents IPv4
exhaustion for many of the current operators in the Asia Pacific region,” Mr Wilson said. From this day onwards, IPv6 is mandatory for building new Internet networks and services.

APNIC’s IPv4 Exhaustion Plan With no way to accurately predict IPv4 demand and the exhaustion date, APNIC instead published daily updates on the status of the IPv4 pool to keep the community
fully informed. The implementation of a three-phase management plan would also
guarantee absolute fairness in the final stages of IPv4 exhaustion.

Phase One led up to the exhaustion of the IANA global IPv4 pool, which occurred on 4 February 2011. During that time, no changes in allocation policy or procedure were made and allocations were processed as usual, according to demonstrated need.

While Phase Two did not introduce any new policies, APNIC Member Services amended their evaluation and allocation procedures to ensure all requests were dealt with in strict order of receipt and to ensure fair processing.

Phase Three: Final /8 Policy Enacted in the Asia Pacific

Phase Three involves a policy change that restricts the amount of IPv4 address space
available to each applicant. Agreed on by the Asia Pacific Internet community,
the Final /8 Policy conserves the remaining IPv4 address blocks to support the
region’s transition to IPv6. Without that block of IPv4 space, new network
operators would find it difficult, or impossible, to connect to the Internet,
even with large IPv6 address allocations available from APNIC.

Wilson said the intention is to provide both new and existing Members with a single allocation from the
Final /8. As the APNIC region is home to many developing economies, this policy
will conserve adequate space for new entrants to the regional and global
market.

Economic activity in the Asia Pacific continues to gain momentum. The high rate of new
entrants to the Internet industry is still increasing, and under this policy
these newcomers will always have access to enough IPv4 address space to begin
operations in today’s market,” Wilson said.

A second benefit of the Final /8 Policy is that it provides additional IPv4
address space to facilitate the transition to IPv6. Networks will need to
support both IPv6 and IPv4 for many years to ensure their customers do not
experience service disruptions.

APNIC’s Role in Regional IPv4 Exhaustion

During  the past few years leading up to this point, APNIC has been actively involved
in the promotion of regional IPv6 deployment, supported by extensive Liaison
and Training programs.

APNIC Director General Paul Wilson said IPv6 deployment requires involvement from the
broader stakeholder community, including government, commercial, and civil
society representatives across the region.

In recent years, APNIC has developed a comprehensive program to support IPv6
activities throughout the region, including capacity building, infrastructure
support, and especially, spreading awareness.

We have been very successful working with high-level ministerial representatives
in these forums, and they recognize the necessity of IPv6 deployment as a
requisite to other regional goals, such as universal broadband access. We see
the evidence of this in the fact that a majority of governments in the Asia
Pacific region have IPv6 initiatives supporting their local technical
communities,” APNIC Senior IPv6 Program Specialist Miwa Fujii said.

IPv6 Deployment the only Solution to IPv4 Exhaustion

The limited number of addresses each operator is now able to access under the APNIC
Final /8 Policy will not be sufficient to maintain the current regional
development rates with IPv4 alone.

The Asia Pacific region must quickly become the leader in IPv6 deployment so that
it can maintain strong Internet growth rates in large maturing economies such
as India and China. Smaller economies, such as some Pacific Island nations, are
already showing high rates of IPv6 delegations.

“We are well on the way to being the first -IPv6-enabled region’, but we have to
keep the momentum strong. ISPs in the Asia Pacific must begin transition plans
if they have not already done so,” Wilson said.

IPv4 exhaustion has been identified as a key turning point for a long time, and it
should come as no surprise. Any organization that wishes to remain viable must
push forward with their IPv6 deployment.

editor@telecomlead.com