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IPv4 Transfer Activity, IPv6 Uptake, Overall IPv4 Use, and IPv4 Price Trends

Published on September 23rd, 2016

This report has interesting implications for potential IPv4 sellers considering the timing of market entry. It looks at the volume of IPv4 transfer activity, IPv6 uptake, overall IPv4 use, and IPv4 price trends.


The data shows that, while the IPv4 market is hotter than it has ever been, there seem to be fewer blocks for sale and increasing demand has pushed prices up. However, the timeline for IPv6 adoption suggests that prices may not go much higher. The question is: What is the optimal timing for selling your IPv4 block?

First, we take a look at the volume of transfer activity so that we understand the IPv4 availability and status. While the total number of blocks transferred across RIPE, APNIC, and ARIN regions has remained even for 2016 versus 2015, the number of IPv4 addresses transferred, if trends continue, will be less than half the 2015 volume.

Global IPv4 Transfer Statistics

What does this drop in IPv4 addresses transferred mean? We speculate that it means fewer large IPv4 blocks are available, so companies are buying smaller blocks to meet their demand. This suggests that large blocks may not be as available as they were in the past.

RIPE has reported on its RIPE Labs website, in a report written by Philipp Richter, that the number of IPv4 addresses in use in the network has flattened after enjoying linear growth since 2008. This corroborates with the IPs transferred being reduced.

Unique Active IPv4 Addresses Per Month

In terms of IPv6, Google has reported an exponential growth curve for users connecting to Google. Twelve percent of users now use IPv6. We were curious to know, if the curve continued in its current pattern, when would we see saturation of IPv6? So, we plotted using an exponential growth curve model, which shows that IPv6 would be at 50% of users connecting in January of 2019. That is just 28 months from now.

Reference: https://www.google.com/intl/en/ipv6/statistics

Google IPv6 Adoption Rates

It would seem that some sort of price maximization for IPv4 should occur between now and January of 2019. We have seen prices rise from $5/IP to $9 to $10 per IP for a /16 over the past 18 months.

IPv4 Transactions Over Time /16

It would seem that this rise will continue until the saturation point for IPv6 is reached.

IPv6 Adoption Rate Forecasting

If IPv4 saturation is defined as 50% IPv6 usage on the user side, then prices could rise for another 28 months. However, if the saturation point is higher or lower, and IPv4 demand and supply change, then prices will be very difficult to predict. Another factor could be that the companies converting to IPv6 will free up IPv4 addresses, and this will increase market supplies and push prices down.

As a potential seller, it would seem that you would want to sell into this demand and wait no longer than 28 months to sell.

Time will tell if the current data curves continue. For now, it seems like having unused IPv4 addresses is still a bird in the hand and sales can be made at excellent prices. If you are an IPv4 seller, now is a good time to enter the market before it is too late for strong prices.