Pragmatism (was Re: [ppml] Re: 2005-1:Multi-national Business Enablement)

David Conrad david.conrad at
Wed May 4 14:15:42 EDT 2005


Speaking only for myself and definitely not representing anyone:

On May 4, 2005, at 1:39 AM, Jeroen Massar wrote:
> And they earn money with this? There are only few customers ISP's who
> actually give out multiple IP's to end users.

In my limited experience I have worked for two ISPs which did not 
charge for addresses and have been a customer of four ISPs, only one of 
which charged for addresses ($6.95 per month per IP address!?!?  They 
weren't my ISP for very long).  Obviously your mileage may vary.

> Funny that ISP's claim they can't assign more IP addresses to endusers
> because "there is a shortage", while they can simply request them from
> their local RIR.

To be fair, there is a cost associated with obtaining and managing IP 
addresses and the documentation associated with requesting those 
addresses.  For example, I suspect many of the people who attend RIR 
meetings are hired specifically to deal with the IP address allocations 
and I suspect they'd sort of like to be paid by their employer.  In my 
opinion, it is perfectly appropriate to pass those costs on to 
customers either hidden in the connectivity fee or as an explicit 

> If ISP's don't do this, then we can stick to IPv4 and NAT just as well
> and not even bother with IPv6.

Rightly or wrongly, this is a common suggestion and, if one ignores 
religion, it has its good points and its bad points.  I personally 
believe that until IPv6 offers something more that 
IPv4-with-bigger-addresses-and-stateless-autoconfiguration, the 
IPv4+NAT approach will win.  Particularly if end users need to be 
involved at any technical level when service providers change.

> As for the ITU part, read between the lines of the following
> presentations:
> IETF = open free end-2-end connectivity,

As anyone who has worked at an ISP will likely tell you, connectivity 
is never free, rarely open, and perhaps ideally end-2-end, but in 
reality, most likely mediated by proxies, caches, or NATs.  Pretending 
otherwise is self-defeating.

> ITU = regulate+charge for every
> single application, and it seems they want to bring this weird idea to
> the internet unfortunately...

Actually, I believe the ITU position (if it can be said to have a 
position) is that telecommunications (which includes the Internet) is a 
national sovereignty issue and nations have the right and 
responsibility to regulate and/or charge for whatever they feel 
appropriate to suit their national interests.  While people in "the 
West" may feel this is simply wrong, I suspect you'd get strenuous 
arguments from people in countries where telecommunication settlements 
account for significant portions of their country's GNP.

With respect to IPv6 and addressing issues, the director of the ITU 
telecoms standardization has proposed what he has characterized as 
competition in address allocations for IPv6.  His approach is to 
allocate chunks of addresses on geo-political boundaries instead of the 
traditional network topological boundaries to attempt to insure a more 
"equitable" distribution of IPv6 addresses than IPv4 addresses.  
Depending on where you live, Zhao's approach could either be much more 
closely aligned with your apparent desire for everyone who requests to 
have a /48 no questions asked or it could be the exact opposite of 
allocation on demand and much, much worse than any ISP's or RIR's 
allocation policies.

My larger worry, however, is that the institution of 
non-network-topological addressing will lead to a traditional 
telecoms-like settlement regime for the Internet as geo-* addressing 
requires (at least in all the proposals I've heard) ISPs provide 
transit for non-customers/non-peers.  I'm not smart enough to think up 
a way to do this without some sort of settlement mechanism, but perhaps 
others are.  Further, while I might think inflicting settlements on the 
Internet would be an astoundingly bad idea, it is perhaps instructive 
to note that the PSTN has functioned (more or less) and been 
economically stable for more than a century.

I believe even a perception profligate waste of address space such that 
it can be seen as even possible that we'll run out of address space 
greatly strengthens the hand of folks who believe the IPv6 address 
space should be chunked up and assigned to countries.  As such, I 
personally tend to be a bit conservative when reviewing IPv6 address 
allocation policies, specifically trying to avoid mistakes (such as 
fixed network mask lengths) that have been made in the past.

However, I do not make policy at ARIN. I, like the other board members, 
merely try to insure the open policy processes are followed and 
encourage people to participate and make their own decisions.


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