NAIPR Message

US CODE: Title 15, Chapter 1, Section 2.

On Sun, 2 Feb 1997, Karl Auerbach wrote:

> The issue is that one may jump through many hoops to get a block from ARIN
> only to discover that some ISP has decided to not accept or honor routing
> information that would allow that block to be reached from smaller or
> larger parts of the net. 

This is reality today, although not as much as in the past because the
registries (RIPE, APNIC and InterNIC) make it abundantly clear to people
that small netblocks are not routable. However, at the time when providers
started filtering unaggregated netblocks, there were companies who
received allocations which they discovered to be useless. For a while,
RIPE was doing slowstart allocations to ISP's of /20's or /21's and they
discovered that Sprint's /19 filters were blocking them from all Sprint

This is a basic risk of business on the net today. However, there are ways
for most organizations to avoid those risks. It starts with due diligence
in learning about RFC 1918 addresses, NAT, proxies, DHCP, renumbering,
etc. And then implementing those techniques to help your organization meet
its goals while protecting it from events beyond its control out there on
the net.

In a free market system it is not possible to guarantee that all companies
will make a profit when their business licence is issued. And on the
Internet it is not possible to guarantee that an ARIN-allocated address
block will be routable on the public network.

> ARIN, by virtue of its granting authority, could, if it chose to do so,
> impose a condition upon all grantees that they avoid arbitrary or
> capricious treatment of other grantees. 

The problem with this is that the core network operators don't need to ask
ARIN for addresses for themselves. If they decide that ARIN's conditions
of service are too onerous and interfere too much with their ability to do
business, they have two choices. They can go directly to IANA for
addresses and IANA is highly unlikely to impose any such conditions if
they should grant address space. Or they could simply agree amongst
themselves to use a currently unused netblock. ARIN is not a kingmaker
that can impose conditions on its grantees that the grantees would not
willingly accept. And if they would willingly accept such conditions then
there would be no need for ARIN to impose those conditions.

> It's kinda fun listening to the ISP voices saying "we wanna be
> independent, we wanna be the final authority, we wanna make our own
> choices without regard for anyone else."

The reality is that everybody in the Internet game is dependent on
everybody else. The game requires cooperation in order to gain success.
No doubt this is due to its military heritage since the military people
who built the Internet technology live in an environment where cooperation
and teamwork is the only choice.

> Since the membership
> (and BoT and AC) are, in practice, going to be the existing ISPs, the
> policies of ARIN will be essentially those desired by the existing ISPs,
> not necessarily what is best for the public (the same public that will be
> granting the tax exemptions.)

First of all, there is no reason why large non-ISP users of IP addresses
could not be members of ARIN. So ARIN's membership is likely to include
other corporations and probably some government agencies as well.
Especially since membership is only $1,000 per year. Secondly, it is
highly unlikely that even a majority of ISP's will join ARIN. 

So while it might be nice to have a world in which all network providers
guarantee routability of an IP address block that is allocated according
to some set of conditions, I don't believe that ARIN is in a position to
do this. If there really is a demand for this sort of organization then it
would likely grow out of NANOG and thus far, NANOG has not shown any great
signs of wanting to become any sort of formal organization.

In fact, I would not expect to see this sort of thing appear first in
North America, because we are too wild, too entrepreneurial, too pioneer
in spirit. This sort of organized behavior is more likely to arise in the
more settled parts of the world, namely Europe. Then we can once again
follow their example if it proves to be a good thing.

> This is not something which has an easy answer, but we should seriously
> consider whether ARIN ought to try some mild measures to rein-in the "wild
> west" attitude of every ISP for itself.

This would be like herding cats!

Michael Dillon                   -               Internet & ISP Consulting
Memra Software Inc.              -                  Fax: +1-250-546-3049             -               E-mail: michael at