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

Dean Anderson dean at av8.com
Tue Aug 21 23:33:55 EDT 2007

On Tue, 21 Aug 2007, Alexander, Daniel wrote:

> Dean,
> There are several proposals that try to delay the depletion of IPv4 by
> restricting or rationing demand. One conern I have is the assumption
> that demand is primarily based on waste, hoarding and inefficiencies.
> Rationing of IP space currently exists with the RIR's in the form of the
> slow start method of allocation. While it may not be 100% efficient, one
> advantage is it rations IP allocations without restricting demand.
> Rationing, by restricting demand, ensures that IP are available for
> those who may need them in the future, by denying those who may need
> them in the present. Don't you trade one problem for another at that
> point.

No, time is a friend that goes with us on the journey (:-P)  Time does
work for us.  First, when faced with waiting some months (or whatever
timeframe) for a delegation, a company will tend to get more creative
with the application.  This creates more efficiency all by itself.  
Second, I that IPv6 will eventually catch on in time, and IPv4 demand
will diminish in time. IPv6 will expand over time, and IPv4 will shrink
over time.  So we just have to keep IPv4 smoothly operating until IPv6 
catches on.

> My opinion is that policy should never inhibit the genuine growth of
> the Internet. If the concern is hoarding, then the focus should be on
> reclaiming unused allocations, rather than prohibiting natural growth.

The concern isn't merely hoarding. Hoarding is a pernicious consequence
of impending exhaustion of any resource.  The problem is exhaustion of
the resource.

> I'll use the company I work for as an example. Not too long ago, we
> started offering VoIP services. We planned on a nationwide deployment,
> and marketing had ambitious goals for the number of devices deployed the
> first year. (as they often do). To deploy the service across our entire
> footprint, it was determined we would need X number of IP. (scopes of a
> certain size to be deployed on the CMTS and provisioned to the customer
> through DHCP) 

Actually, I don't know why you needed any more IP address space for VOIP
to existing cable customers. The customers already have an IP address.
Why do they need another one?  I've been wondering about that for a
while. I used to consult on VOIP engineering for GTE/Genuity/Level3.  
I'm not an expert in cable systems, tho.  It seems to me that
cable/residential systems are perfect for IPv6 deployment, since one
might want to NAT residential users anyway to keep them from running
servers and such.  An IPv6 to IPv4 gateway in the headend seems like the
perfect idea. And IPv4 (NAT) to IPv6 in the cable modem...  I digress...

> If a strict approach to rationing is taken, what happens when a
> company needs IP for new customers, but is not provided them by the
> RIR.

Exactly the same thing that will happen in about 2.5 years. There is
only one difference: Under my proposal, after some short time, you may
still get an allocation. So, just like Paris Hilton, you get out of jail
after a short bit. That is in contrast to, say, Bernie Ebbers, where you
get 25 years and no early release because you don't like jail anymore.

So, whose jail experience do you want to have: Paris Hilton's? Or Bernie
Ebbers? You get to choose, but you have to do it now. You can't wait
until April, 2010. If you wait that long, you get Bernie Ebber's

> That scenario, is no different than if the IANA pool was allowed to
> deplete. It won't matter if the possibility exists they could get more
> the next time their turn came up. The customer has already gone
> elsewhere.

Not if they're a cable customer: They're bound by a contract that they
can't get out of.  Houses will soon come with a builtin cable contract.  

Seriously, they can't go elsewhere: there aren't any new IP addresses
for anyone else, either.  So unless someone else can figure a way to
provide VOIP on that one IP address the existing cable customer already
has, they won't be buying VOIP from anyone, and there won't even be any
wiggle room for new or more efficient services at all.  That's bad.

Of course, if there is a way to (for example) provide VOIP with just one
IP address, you probably should have figured that out before your
competitor, did.

> Isn't IPv4 better served by ensuring those who need it get it, and
> those that aren't using it give it back, rather than restricting
> natural growth?

If we weren't going to run out, hard stop, no get out of jail card, in
March 2010 (~2.5 years from now), you would have a point.

Those who aren't using it now, will definitely be using it after March,
2010. There is nothing to give back. That was always an illusion.

What are your plans after March, 2010, if we don't ration?


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