[arin-ppml] The Library Book Approach to IPv4 Scarcity

Chris Grundemann cgrundemann at gmail.com
Wed Oct 29 00:55:18 EDT 2008

On Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 6:23 PM, Michael Sinatra
<michael at rancid.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> On 10/27/08 11:52 AM, Chris Grundemann wrote:
>> IP space (v4, v6, vX) is a public resource and as such should be borrowed,
>> used and returned by those with a need for it. Think of IPv4 prefixes like
>> library books (another finite public resource): When you check out a book,
>> you are expected to return it on a certain date. If that date comes and
>> you
>> are still actively using the book, you are allowed to state that and keep
>> the book. Since we are at a point now where IPv4 space is recognizably
>> finite, it makes sense to implement a similar policy at the RIR(s) - that
>> is
>> a time frame. This policy would require that after X amount of time, the
>> LIR/EU would need to return to the RIR with justification if they wish to
>> keep the space. The burden should be on the LIR/EU to prove that they are
>> actively using the space.
> Just a philosophical question here: The above seems to imply that the
> expected behavior by an organization or service provider who makes the
> transition to IPv6 will eventually be to give back space as part of that
> transition.  Two alternative possibilities exist that I can think of:
> 2. [#1 is already listed above] Organizations that transition to IPv6 are
> allowed to keep their IPv4 space (in the absence of a transfer market) as
> they transition away from it.  RIRs become less concerned with IPv4 as IPv6
> takes hold, and eventually all IPv4 holdings become irrelevant.  (I realize
> I am condensing possibly 10-15 years into two sentences.)
> 3. Organizations that quickly transition to IPv6 can recoup some of the cost
> of the transition by selling IPv4 addresses in a transfer market. Such a
> market would then provide incentives for transitioning to IPv6 at a certain
> time (i.e. once enough IPv6 services and/or transition mechanisms exist to
> make it feasible, and after IPv4 free-pool runout, but before all of the
> wealthy laggards have transitioned--otherwise there will be no buyers)
> because "early-to-middle adopters" can sell their unused v4 space to wealthy
> late-adopters who need it.  Eventually enough entities will transition and
> start rolling out v6-only services that the laggards will find it in their
> best interests to transition. The market for IPv4 eventually collapses and
> nobody cares.
> All three assume a largely successful transition to IPv6.  Outcomes that
> don't assume a successful transition are out of scope of this immediate
> discussion.
> I think that my assumption had always been that #2 and #3 were much more
> likely and feasible than #1.  It's not that I am necessarily in favor of a
> market address exchange, but I recognize that it may be a lot more likely to
> just happen than an voluntary return of resources to ARIN. Moreover, once
> IPv4 resources can no longer be monetized because IPv6 is the dominant
> protocol, returning resources to ARIN will be a waste of {ARIN's, the
> member's} time because they will basically be worthless.
> I'd like to hear from other folks who think that #1 is a viable option and
> should be pursued, but at this point, I oppose the policy because I think it
> rests on a not-very-likely assumption.

I see three possibilities also, but from a little more basic angle:

1) Organizations will return all unused and/or unneeded IPv4 space to
the RIR as soon as it becomes so.
2) Organizations will only unused and/or unneeded IPv4 space to the
RIR with additional incentive.
3) Organizations will not ever unused and/or unneeded IPv4 space to the RIR.

While #1 is the best for the community as a whole, most have given up
hope that it is possible because it does not seem to be happening now
and as IPv4 becomes more scarce there will be even more resistance,
unfortunatly.  If #3 is the case than there is not much we can do, so
that possibility can probably be ignored when considering policy
changes.  Which leaves us with #2.  Paid transfers are one way to
provide that incentive, I am attempting to create an alternative (or
additional) incentive.  The more tools we have, the

I would say that returning unused and/or unneeded IPv4 space is the
_expected_ behavior from the standpoint that it is what _should_ be
happening but I agree that without additional incentive, it is
(highly) unlikely.

> michael

Chris Grundemann

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