The internet bids an emotional farewell to IPv4

The Number Resource Organisation has announced that the pool of IPv4 addresses has now, alas, come to an end, though there are no signs of civilisation stuttering to a complete halt as far as we can see here from inside TechEye’s purpose-built IPv4-apocalypse proof bunker.

It was announced on Monday to a terrified public that the APNIC, the regional registry for Asia Pacific region, had requested the last two free blocks of addresses from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and thus triggering the allocation of the remaining block between the five regional internet registries, as was prophesied in days gone past.

Those last few precious IPv4 address were finally allocated, meaning that it is necessary for internet stakeholders to deploy IPv6 from now on.

“This is a historic day in the history of the internet, and one we have been anticipating for quite some time,” said Raúl Echeberría, chairman of the NRO, ushering in a new era for mankind.

“The future of the internet is in IPv6. All internet stakeholders must now take definitive action to deploy IPv6.”

According to Rod Beckstrom, CEO of ICANN – the international body responsible for the IANA function – the industry is well prepared for the changeover, though work will be needed to ensure that there are no slip ups.

“Nobody was caught off guard by this, the internet technical community has been planning for IPv4 depletion for quite some time,” he said.

“But it means the adoption of IPv6 is now of paramount importance, since it will allow the internet to continue its amazing growth and foster the global innovation we’ve all come to expect.”

TechEye spoke to Simon McCalla, IT director at Nominet, who agreed that the impending doom of the changeover is actually rather more simple than sometimes reported.

“This is not something that the general public needs to worry about, and truth could not be further away from a Y2K style scenario,” McCalla said. 

“It helps for the average internet user to have an awareness of the matter, but essentially the switchover will be very much like the move from analogue to digital TV.”

“For example, an old router and modem may need to be upgraded, though service providers will inform customers of changes that are necessary.”

“Also small businesses are in a similar position, it is only really larger companies that should be more aware.  We advise that chief execs and boards are notified and that the change is not done last minute.”

“The NRO and IANA have been very clear about the number of addresses left, as well as being clear about the situation of the final five being  allocated immediately.  So this is certainly not something that has come as a surprise to those in the industry.”

From now on each country will only be assigned the shiny new IPv6 addresses, which provide a massively expanded “next generation” address space of an undecillion (equal to a trillion, trillion, trillion) addresses that will be able to deal with the continued expansion without fear of another change.

“Billions of people world wide use the internet for everything from sending tweets to paying bills. The transition to IPv6 from IPv4 represents an opportunity for even more innovative applications without the fear of running out of essential Internet IP addresses,” said Vice President of IANA Elise Gerich.

Each of the five RIRs will now have the final allocation, along with any remaining IPs they might still hold, to distribute within their nations.

The amount of time before we finally see the back of the IPv4 could range from weeks to many months depending on demand.

However deployment of IPv6, which has been available since 1999, is now said to be “a requirement, not an option,” according to Echeberría, as it is only a matter of time before RIRs and ISPs will have to start denying requests for IPv4 address space. Upon which, we are reliably informed, the world will surely end.