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ARIN 36 : ARIN is holding steady on IPv4 Policy

Published on October 19th, 2015

ARIN 36 was held in Montreal, Canada from October 8 to October 10, 2015. There were 11 policy proposals on the docket. Many of these proposals are variations of attempts to address out of region use of IPv4 addresses, corrections to the manual, and lessening of IPv4 needs justification. A problem ARIN has, is the inability of its membership to make significant change on IPv4 policy. There are too many points of view and a fear of change which stand in the way of significant changes. ARIN will not soon go to no needs justification, will not soon allow unfettered out of region use, and will continue to add large sections to its manual to govern IPv4. In other words, the ARIN community will keep a tight grip on how IPv4 is administered.

As a result, ARIN’s IPv4 policy is complex and getting worse, in spite of the fact that ARIN IPv4 run out has occurred. A new section, Draft Policy 2015-5, is being added to the ARIN Number Resource Policy Manual (NRPM) to handle out of region IPv4 use rules. This section, if implemented, will add requirements, such as using part of the allocation, such as a /22, in ARIN region.

It is even difficult for the membership to agree to remove redundant pieces of text. For example, Draft Policy 2014-4 will address the contradiction between NRPM 8.2 which says ARIN will work with entities to return IPs not in use, upon a merger or acquisition, and the Registration Services Agreement (RSA) says it will not. Today, ARIN staff do not enforce the returning of IPs upon a merger or acquisition. However, the discussion about removal of the statement about returning IPs, even though it is never executed, seems stalled. Many ARIN members think the IPs should be returned and want the statement left in. As a result it was not unanimous that the RSA and 8.2 will be synchronized.

Draft Policy 2015-11 is to remove the point that “the source entity will be ineligible to receive any further IPv4 address allocations or assignments from ARIN for a period of 12 months after a transfer approval, or until the exhaustion of ARIN’s IPv4 space, whichever occurs first”. Most of us would say that ARIN exhaustion is an event which has occurred, and therefore the text is redundant and can be removed. However, some would argue exhaustion is a state, and more IPs will come from the IANA, and therefore the text should be kept. I would argue that the text is useless in any case because any organization with two org IDs will use one for allocations from ARIN and one for transfers, and then only the very small company is penalized by this text. So let’s stop penalizing the small company, and delete it!

Then, there are the ongoing debates about no needs justification for IPv4 transfers. Some people want no need, and some want needs justification for all IPv4 blocks. It appears there may be a compromise in the form of no needs for small blocks, maybe at the /20 or a smaller level, and maybe at lesser utilization such as 50%. Whatever happens will be a baby step and supplies of IPv4 addresses will erode before any major change is implemented.

In conclusion, no significant changes to ARIN IPv4 policy are expected in the short term, and companies should expect to continue to perform IPv4 needs justification, and to continue to implement work-arounds to use IPv4 addresses registered in ARIN region for out of region use.