AS Number Registrations

J. Scott Marcus smarcus at
Wed Aug 30 10:06:54 EDT 2000

At 10:23 08/30/2000 +0200, Shane Kerr wrote:
>> The number of AS numbers ARIN issues has increased steadily over the last
>> three years.  Members have expressed concern about this large increase in
>> AS number registrations.
>> 	Issued in 1998 -- 915
>> 	Issued in 1999 -- 1,685
>> 	Issued in 2000 -- 1,596 (through July)
>> The vast majority of these AS numbers are issued to newly multi-homed
>> sites.  Is this increase in AS number registrations a concern to the
>> community and should ARIN policies be changed, as a result?
>Note the current assignments on the IANA page:
>At 3000 issued a year, the AS numbers will exhaust the "Held by IANA" 
>in 4 years, and the "Reserved by IANA" in 15 or so.  Given a modest 50% 
>increase in number issued each year, they'll all be gone in 2004 or 2005...

Thanks, Shane.  Interesting comments.

My concern has been with the rate of increase.  If you look at the numbers
above, it appears that we are witnessing an increase of about 100% (_not_
50%) per year in the number assigned.  Exponential growth tends to be
unsustainable in many real world situations (cf. Malthus), and this is no
exception.  If current trends imply the need for ARIN alone to assign 6,000
AS numbers in 2001, 12,000 in 2002, and 24,000 in 2003, we are in deep
weeds indeed.

In many cases, trends like these are self-limiting.  Many exponential
growth curves top out and go sigmoid (s-shaped) as they encounter natural
limits.  Perhaps this is not a problem -- perhaps we run out of networks to
multi-home, for instance, long before this becomes a serious issue.  But
looking at the numbers above makes me nervous as heck.

- Scott

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