The age of IPv6 is Upon Us

ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers is the authority in charge of distributing IP addresses in North America.  ARIN received the IPv4 blocks for North America from the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which is responsible for distribution of IP addresses and maintaining DNS root zones as well as managing the database of top level domains.

Yesterday, on September 24th 2015, ARIN announced that they had issued the final IPv4 address available.  This has several implications to the internet at large:

  • First of all, this does not mean that all IPv4 addresses have been used up, simply that all IPv4 addresses allocated to North America have been distributed to organizations.  For example, the pool of addresses in Europe was depleted three years ago while the AFRINIC (The Internet Numbers Registry for Africa) still has an available pool of addresses.
  • This also does not mean that IPv4 addresses have all been used up in North America.  Organizations that would like to acquire an IPv4 address may still be able to do so through secondary methods. They might either be put on a waitlist for unmet IPv4 addresses or they may purchase the addresses through the IPv4 transfer market.
  • This does mean that any existing restrictions on IPv4 transfer from one organization to another have been lifted.

Because of this depletion, the IPv4 Marketing group, which has been tracking the price of IPv4 addresses, predicts that the price of IPv4 addresses has reached an all time low and will begin to rise as the availability of addresses on the secondary market becomes more rare.  They are predicting that particularly the prices of the larger IP blocks will begin to rise as free addresses becomes more rare.

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Is Your Site IPv6 Ready?

Practically, this means that the adoption of IPv6 across the industry seems to be imminent, particularly with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT).  It is predicted that billions of new technologically advanced every day objects will begin to be connected to the internet for a variety of reasons.  From smart TVs that can record shows, play video games and more to smart thermostats that automatically know when you are home based upon wireless communication with your mobile phone or smart refrigerators that automatically update your shopping list when a product has been used up.  Each of these devices needs an address, so we expect manufacturers to begin using IPv6 by default out of necessity due to the lack of available IPv4 addresses.

Because the state of the industry still includes a mix of older routing devices that do not recognize IPv6 addresses or devices with IPv6 routing turned off for outdated security or speed related reasons, not every device will be capable of communicating to every other device across the internet.  This is one of the many reasons that Dotcom-Monitor has built a mixed mode network with some nodes capable of routing via IPv4 or IPv6 natively, some nodes that use 4To6 translation, and some nodes that only work with IPv6 routing.  This third type of monitoring agent will be crucial for companies to test the compliance of their websites and devices across the IPv6 network.  If you need to know that your sites and device are visible and consistently reachable via IPv6, sign up now for a free trial with Dotcom-Monitor IPv6 only monitoring services.

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