[ppml] Policy Proposal: Decreasing Exponential Rationing of IPv4 IP Addresses

Dean Anderson dean at av8.com
Tue Aug 21 22:11:52 EDT 2007

On Mon, 20 Aug 2007, Scott Leibrand wrote:

> Ok.  So to paraphrase, you anticipate that the rationing will lead to
> more stringent review of IPv4 applications, and that once the IPv4
> addresses available for a particular period
> (month/quarter/year/whatever) are used up, applications will be
> waitlisted and filled on a FCFS basis at the start of the next period.  
> That seams like a reasonably fair way to do things, at least until the
> waitlist starts getting long, at which point it might be worthwhile to
> start partially filling requests and require applicants to reapply and
> get back in line as soon as they use their partial allocation.

Yes. I think they can partially fill requests, now. Another side effect
of waiting is that people will make smaller requests that could be
better documented and filled sooner.

> It might be worthwhile exploring such options as part of the policy
> process, but I can also see the wisdom in allowing ARIN staff the
> leeway to manage the rationing as needed based on changing conditions.
> One thing I think we ought to consider is adjusting the timeframe.  
> (I'll use your "divide by N" approximation, as it's easier to think
> about.)  Under your proposal, with N=10, I would anticipate that we
> would begin seeing the impact of rationing immediately, and that the
> impacts may be large.  Another option would be to set N to a lower
> value, say 5.  Since we're approximately 5 years away from exhaustion
> at current projected rates, that may mean we can "ease into" the
> rationing regime, which may be advantageous.  If we did that, we
> wouldn't run out of IPv4 space in 5 years, because each year the
> ration decreases exponentially, so that the smaller and smaller free
> pool continues to be extended until IPv6 adoption takes off and IPv4
> space starts getting returned faster than it's given out.

Actually, we are just over 2.5 years away (March 2010).  But 5 years
could be a good number, to start.  7 sounds better, to me.

> Another consideration is what to do about global coordination.  As it
> stands today, the large pool of free IPv4 space is managed by IANA,
> which gives it out to RIRs as they use it.  If ARIN were to adopt a
> strict rationing regime, say with N=10, but the other RIRs did not do
> so, then ARIN would see most of the remaining free pool used up by
> other RIRs, which ARIN became less and less able to fill its members
> IPv4 requests.

Well, this seems like it could be a problem in the first 3 years
(assuming the other RIRs don't follow suit). But after the other RIR's
run out of space, ARIN will seem to have been the wise one, and the only
one which can still allocate space.

> Because of this concern, I think it's important to define how ARIN's
> rationing interacts with other RIRs assignment practices. One approach
> would be to try for a globally coordinated rationing system.  Another
> would be to push for IANA to divide the free pool up in advance, and
> delay stringent rationing until ARIN has a fixed-size pool to work
> with. Do you have any thoughts on how to manage that aspect of things?

I think the same way. Ration IANA by the same method. RIRs are just the
customers of IANA.  I expect the other RIRs will follow suit, for the
above reason.

> With regards to markets, I agree with you that an unregulated free
> market in IPv4 space would be a disaster.  I foresee something more
> closely managed, where perhaps someone wanting IPv4 space would first
> go to ARIN, get their justification approved, and then would have the
> option of either getting on the waitlist for available space or buying
> space, up to the amount they were able to justify, on a market.  ARIN
> would then approve the sale, update the registry, and take the
> applicant off the waitlist.  In any event, I see an IPv4 market as
> something that will only be useful once we exhaust the IPv4 free pool,
> or start a stringent rationing regime.  So we should probably focus on
> proposals like Soft Landing and Rationing to deal with the runout
> phase, and then start thinking about markets, reclamation, etc. as
> soon as we have good runout policies in place.

This assumes the market is made of people who have excess space and want
to sell it. I think raiding is more likely---Buying up ISPs, and turning
their assets to another more profitable purpose.  But that is the
economic purpose of profits---to put resources to their most profitable

I don't think it is the raiding, or other genuine trading that is a
problem. Its the manipulation of a market that is the problem.  ARIN
doesn't have the authority or police power to investigate and prosecute
market manipulation.  I think the choice is live with that disaster or
continue as we are.  Possibly, an SEC-regulated IP Address trading floor
might work.  Perhaps trading IP Addresses in the commodities market,
maybe... This automatically involves a level of supervision and some
protection against market frauds.

Involving ARIN in tediously approving each step doesn't prevent market
fraud---ARIN will just become the principal deceived, and ARIN has no
police power to investigate or prosecute fraud. Some things have to be
done by the government, or at least subject to government supervision
and criminal penalties.

> As for contested space, I agree that we need to put policies in place
> that constrain any possible unethical behavior, regardless of whether
> we agree or disagree on the ethics of various individuals or their
> past actions.  I think the public policy process has largely done a
> good job creating such policies to date, and have no problem with your
> contested space clause in this policy proposal.

Thanks for your support.

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