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Knowledge base The day the routers died (end of Jan 2011)

First off, if you have not seen it youtube: The day the routers died.

Now, you know IPv4 addresses run out end of Jan 2011, don't you? That is when the last IANA blocks are allocated to RIRs.

The plan is to poll other network operators and ISPs and so on to find what they expect to happen and update this web page with details. Then as shit happens we can update to be more historical record.

2010: People get scared

The first thing that is starting to happen is that people are considering how they will get more IPv4s and what they will do. This means that the take up of IPv4 space is increasing and the registries are getting somewhat more fussy. Policy changes mean ISPs get smaller and smaller blocks during 2010 and 2011. But my forecast here is a bit of a land grab, maybe late 2010, where lots of people start finding ways to get IPv4s. I think the forecast of Sep 2011 for IANA run out is going to move quickly to start of 2011.

We will also start to see IPv4 trading. People getting IPv4 just to sell. People becoming LIRs just to get IPv4 space to then sell. The value of a /24 will go up and up over the years.

We will also see more innovative IPv4 routing and a lot more /24's in the routing tables which may cause problems in bits of the internet. We will even see 2nd class IP addresses that do not have perfect connectivity to the whole world as they were part of BOGONs lists or are in blocks that are filtered or have odd aggregation and so poor routes.

End of Jan 2011: IANA runs out

When IANA runs out, apart from something of an awareness party, nothing immediately happens - the RIRs (e.g. RIPE) have that /8, maybe nearly two /8's, still to allocate. There will be parties, and I am talking at one of them in March 2011...

Later in 2011: RIPE runs out

This is when it gets fun - when you simply cannot get IPv4 space from RIPE. What do you do if you need IPv4's still? Well, for a while a new LIR will be able to get a /22, but that won't last long. It means however that there is a simple cost for a /22, the cost of creating an LIR and applying and then transferring the IP block. That sort of sets the price of IPv4 space for a short while. But soon after RIPE will actually run out totally.

Server hosting companies run out

We are a small ISP, but even large ISPs generally get IP space from RIPE at around 2 year intervals, though this went down to 1 year and is now 6 months forecasts. In fact, RIPE's policy means that every ISP should be running out of addresses themselves around the same time rather than being staggered over a 2 year cycle. This should happen by the end of 2011.

So, you want to host a machine on the net - real or virtual. And the hosting company say "Sorry, no IPv4's". What then?

Well, I am not sure? Will browsers use SRV records to find the port to send web traffic too? i.e. www.example.com may have the same IP as another domain but have SRV records saying which port is mapped to the actual machine. That could work for a while with a front end port mapper to IPv6 or RFC1918 addresses. Port 80 would be a holding page to redirect to the sites with :xxx on the URL for browsers that do not.

Thankfully this can work in parallel to IPv6 too. Have a host with a unique IPv6, and a shared IPv4 with SRV. Sadly most browsers don't do this - but the good news is most browsers have update schemes to encourage people to upgrade to latest versions, so this can start happening. How do we encourage this? Of course a landing page for those that don't can have links to upgrade pages for browsers.

Sounds like a good opportunity for us to sell FB6000 firewall boxes that will port map traffic :-)

Another trick is a front end proxy using the host name, or a front end redirection box redirecting to a host with :X on the end.

Of course, both of these mean web traffic not on port 80 or 443. That is a problem for firewalls and traffic shapers and all sorts. That will be fun.

There are also ways some existing IPv4 usage could be reduced by using one IPv4 for multiply hosted https - this needs things like RFC4366 working everywhere to allow cert negotiation. Again - needs full browser support. For https a redirector page would not really work.

Broadband ISP runs out

Well, the answer here seems to be more and more NAT involved, but ISPs need to start using IPv6 more at a consumer level. Sadly IPv4 NAT provides a higher level on anonymity (see Digital Economy Act stuff) so in effect having IPv4 and NAT may be seen by many end users as an advantage over IPv6. How do we change that view?

Of course, this means NAT in the ISP rather than just at the end user, creating even more overloading of IP usage and ports which poses more problems than just normal NAT!

Switching to IPv6

Well, web sites and services need to have IPv6. Businesses need IPv6. Consumers need IPv6.

One idea is some services offered only on IPv6, or better performance on IPv6.

Long term

Well, that is anyone's guess. Will consumers be using IPv6 routinely without knowing it? Will web servers start being IPv6 only? Will some remnants of IPv4 hang around forever... Who knows...