$7.5M For 666,624 IPv4 Addresses

I’ve mentioned the pending IPv4 shortage before. The latest news is Nortel Networks IPv4 block being sold:

Nortel Networks Corp. is doing its bit to alleviate the Internet space crunch, selling 666,624 IP addresses to Microsoft Corp. for $7.5 million.

So cost per IP address is:

$7.5 M / 666,624 = $11.25

$7.5 M sounds higher than it really is. To put this in perspective, a typical web host leases dedicated IP’s for customers who want an IP rather than name based hosting. This is necessary for things like SSL certificates. They will typically charge $1-2/month per IP address meaning they make anywhere from $12-$24/yearly revenue per IP. When you look at it that way, $11.25 really doesn’t seem that outrageous. It’s a decent investment considering an IPv4 address will be normal for at least another 2-4 years (likely more).

Microsoft has played in the business services role in many respects from webmail to hosting (I think that’s now part of Office Live). As they ramp up their cloud offering they will need to offer IPv4 compatible SSL services on customer domains. I think this will pay off pretty quickly.

However, I don’t think we’ll see to many IPv4 purchases like this, the market is still somewhat limited in my opinion.

IPv6 By January 2012?

From ComputerWorld:

John Curran, President and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, is warning Web site operators that they must enable IPv6 by Jan.1, 2012 or risk disenfranchising a significant number of their visitors

While I agree IPv6 deployment is important, I don’t think most websites will be even close to making this deadline, nor do I think it will be necessary. I think ISP’s would rather stretch their existing IP allocations by using NAT’s in some markets than tell Grandma to update her Windows ME computer and telling most customers that their home router isn’t IPv6 ready.

FWIW I don’t have IPv6 support enabled on this server. I won’t explicitly rule it out, but I’m not sure I’ll make that deadline.

Nobody Is Using IPv6

Arbor Networks found that almost nobody is using IPv6 (a peak of 0.012% to be exact). Not exactly shocking.

This is due to a chicken or the egg problem:

  • ISP’s don’t give out IPv6 addresses because the majority of their customers can’t handle it. Modern operating systems support IPv6, but these days most people use broadband routers, which only support IPv4. As a result most can’t use IPv6.
  • Hardware vendors that make routers and switches often don’t support IPv6 to keep costs low, and performance high. It’s not needed since most ISP’s don’t support it anyway, and that doesn’t look like it’s about to change anytime soon.

There are however a few ISP’s that have experimented with IPv6.

Of course another issue is that most websites don’t use IPv6, but I think that’s the easiest to fix. Since most servers are hosted in data centers with expensive routers that could be upgraded. Nobody bothers because it’s not much more than a novelty. Servers themselves use modern operating systems that can easily support IPv6.

So what will change this? A massive government push. Something along the lines of Digital TV transition. It would need to do the following:

  • Specify a date after which all hardware and software sold must be IPv6 compatible.
  • Specify a date after which all ISP’s with more than X customers, or a certain bandwidth level must support IPv6.

Unlike the Digital TV transition, there’s no real push to kill IPv4, so it wouldn’t be so bad if it died a natural death like Gopher and just became antiquated and disappeared. DTV is different since the space freed up can be auctioned for large sums of money, which is the real incentive for the switch anyway.

Will it happen? I doubt it.

The Olympics is available via IPv6 (more info here). China has a better IPv6 plan since their growing population means they see the need for more IP space. Not to mention the US has a much higher allocation than China.

The DoD as well as the US Government in general has been moving to IPv6, but they have yet to make any real push for the private sector.

Until the US Government realizes a push is necessary it’s not going to happen. To bad. I’d love to point a domain name at a toaster. I’d love even more to get rid of NATs, since they are a nightmare for software to work with.

Strange Population Statistics

Yesterday the estimated world population passed 6,666,666,666. Interesting (though just coincidence) the estimated number of available IPv4 addresses was supposed to pass 666,666,666. Perhaps we are the beast?

An interesting thing to note is that the population is increasing at a very rapid rate. How long it’s sustainable before a Malthusian catastrophe is subject to debate. Some say the industrial age freed us of that pending disaster, others say that just bought a little more time. By about 2024 there is expected to be 8 billion people. IPv6 can’t come soon enough

[Hat Tip: Slashdot]