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IPv4 Address Lifespan

Published on November 26th, 2014

Subtitle: “Should I Sell my IPv4 addresses Now?” and “Should I Stockpile IPv4 Addresses?”

Everyone wants a crystal ball to know the IPv4 address lifespan. They want to know if they will need more IPv4 addresses, and if so, should they buy them now or can they wait.

If I create a simple model of the internet, I see four components:

1. users and desktops
2. the websites they access
3. the carriers and ISPs they use to access the internet
4. the network and equipment across the wide area network.

I went looking for a measure of IPv6 penetration of each of these components.

1. Users: Google tracks users that access its site using IPv6:
( http://www.google.com/intl/en/ipv6/statistics.html#tab=ipv6-adoption). It looks like 4.5% of users are on IPv6.

2. There is a statistic that 14% of the top 1000 accessed websites are accessible using IPv6 (reference http://www.worldipv6launch.org/measurements/). Imagine how much lower it would be for the websites with less use. So the websites need to convert.

3. Carriers are converting to IPv6 at varying rates as shown at http://www.worldipv6launch.org/measurements/ but still it will take a few more years for the carriers to get there.

4. An average of only .9% of internet traffic is over IPv6 on the AMS-IX internet exchange. ( https://ams-ix.net/technical/statistics/sflow-stats/ether-type)

My thought is that looking at all aspects of IPv6 shows that there is a long way to go to replace IPv4. Dual stack with both IPv4 and IPv6 will be around for a long time. The nodes, applications, and equipment all need to be converted. This will take at least ten years from now, and I was saying this three years ago when I started in the brokerage business. Companies that use IPv4 addresses should think about building stockpiles now, while supplies are still inexpensive. After the ARIN runout, as demand increases and supplies tighten, in three to four years, I predict we will see increasing prices.