[ppml] Proposed Policy: IPv4 Countdown

Luke S. Crawford lsc at prgmr.com
Fri Mar 16 15:56:10 EDT 2007

On Fri, 16 Mar 2007, Kevin Kargel wrote:
> First I feel I need to jump in and say we are all underestimating the
> resourcefulness of the internet user.  OK, I admit I'm an old fart and
> that when I started in the internet you had to solder your own modem and
> beg or bribe a professor or a scientist for dial-up access at 128 baud.
> At that time there was no IANA, no ARIN, not even any concept like DNS
> but people figured out how to communicate, even if they had to type the
> routing tables in by hand every time they turned the computer on.

I don't think anyone is saying that the Internet is going to go away. 
Even if we go to "nat hell"  the Internet will still mostly work.  We will 
find a way, even if it involves duct tape, bondo and bailing wire.  The 
discussion here is not "how do we keep the Internet from going away?" but 
"what do we want the Internet to look like 5 years from now?"

More and more we are moving towards a 2 tier system where 'servers'  are 
on the real Internet (with routable IPv4 addresses)  and 'clients' are on 
the nat Internet, where they can make [some] outgoing connections, but 
they can not serve content with any degree of reliability.  Also I 
believe 'nat hell' will prove much more expensive, in the long term 
(though cheaper in the short term)  than a switch to IPv6, as there is 
significant ongoing complexity cost.

Being as I'm positioned to keep (and rent out) [virtual] servers on public 
IPv4 space, and as I'm also in a position to get paid to maintain the 
expensive and more complex "nat hell"  I'm not complaining too loudly 
about the way things are going.  Long-term, the status quo will likely 
make me more money than a simpler, more flat IPv6 Internet.  And really, 
I think even from a "Internet health" perspective, keeping vulnerable 
windows boxes on a 'second class Internet' might be good for all 

This IPv6 push, I think, is mostly run by far-sighted individuals that 
would prefer the flatter, more egalitarian Internet where everyone has a 
publically accessible IP address; where clients can be servers.  This is 
Internet gives me warm fuzzies, and it allows for simple design of some 
interesting distributed applications.  I think most of us agree it is 
better than 'nat hell'  that we are currently headed towards.

As for the proposal at hand, I think a "dead date" without price increases 
is a bad idea.  If I wanted to spend another $400/month on power, I could 
drag the servers in my bedroom down to the datacenter, and sell an entire 
/22 worth of 40Mb virtual private servers.   My point is that the 
temptation to homestead would be overwhelming, even for those of us trying 
to be responsible Internet citizens.

a solution that would avoid homesteading could  be to set up a parabolic 
increase in price.   Say, double the price of IPv4 allocations every 6 
months.   I imagine my provider would start charging me immediately for 
my [currently free] ip addresses.  Of course, I would pass those costs on 
to my customers, and maybe even offer free IPv6 addresses, such that a 
customer could get a significant discount by using a IPv6-only VPS.  I 
imagine those would sell poorly at first, but after a year or two of 
price increases, IPv6 with tunnels to the IPv4 world would start to look 
pretty good.

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