IPv4 addresses run dry in Asia

The world wide wibble is officially in trouble now that the last IPv4 addresses in Asia have been flogged.

The only way Asian businesses can get an IP address is by getting an old one, or by moving to IPv6. The problem is that telcos, businesses and government departments have successively dragged their feet on rolling out IPv6 and so many sites would not know what to do with the new standard if it stared them in the face and bit them.

What is strange is that the problem has been known about for years. There simply was not enough IPv4 addresses to cope with worldwide demand. Things have gotten worse as mobile communications increased.

Now the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) has just released the last block of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses it has available.

It was not known that APNIC would run out of its addresses quite so quickly. Most had expected there to be enough until later this year.

In a statement, ASPNIC said: “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.”

Practically all new and existing APNIC Members who meet the current allocation criteria will be entitled to a maximum delegation of 1,024 addresses.

Wilson said that from today IPv6 is mandatory for building new internet networks and services.

It has been estimated that the US has enough numbers to last until 2012, but this also assumed that Asia would manage until the end of the year. Our guess is the rest of the world will run out by November.

It basically means that any company that does not upgrade its systems to IPv6 should fire its IT management. True you can use IPv6 on the internet side of your web servers while keeping the intranet’s platforms running IPv4, but that is so short-sighted that it is not worth considering.

As companies demand more mobile technology, the network is going to have to interact with the worldwide wibble better and the only way to do that will be using IPv6.  Because addresses have sold out in Asia first, it means that the companies will be the first to use the new standard, leaving Western businesses behind.

Some companies may try to buy time by picking up unused IP4 addresses but the prices of these are expected to go through the roof.