[arin-ppml] Routing table growth, was Re: IPv4 is depleted today

Tom Vest tvest at pch.net
Wed Sep 3 15:47:01 EDT 2008

On Sep 3, 2008, at 3:00 PM, <michael.dillon at bt.com> wrote:

>>> 0.4% of the Alexa top 500...
>> I understand the point you're trying to make here, but sometimes the
>> elephants have ideas their own. Unless we introduce some
>> contradictory
>> altruism assumptions in here, it's not clear why the
>> elephants -- most
>> of whom have big interests in both access and content -- will be
>> inclined to automatically empower the legions of mice, given the
>> option of not empowering them.
> It's also not the way the world works. We want exponential growth
> of the IPv6 Internet. To achieve this, paradoxically, we do NOT
> want big content providers to enable v6 in droves. Instead we want
> lots and lots of mice, more each month than the month before. That
> will build momentum over a period of years, and then suddenly,
> when we are barely ready for it, the big leap of the exponential
> curve will hit us as big content sites start switching on IPv6.
> The fact is, that in nature, which is where we exist, an exponential
> curve starts with a long run-up which slowly gathers momentum for
> a considerable period of time. During that run-up, measurements
> of growth are confusing because they only show a small uplift
> over linear growth and this could be the result of measurement
> error. But the factors behind the numbers, are working towards
> the big leap. Hundreds of elephants dipping their toes in the water
> don't register much more impact than thousands of mice diving in
> headfirst. But when the elephant is comfy and strides forward,
> you will notice it.
> People are spending entirely too much time on side issues to IPv6
> deployment as *THE* public Internet protocol. It *WILL* happen, it
> *WILL* be a lot of work, there will be some false starts (already have
> been for that matter), but it is going to happen, because there is
> nothing else out there competing with IPv6.
> Also, consider this. It is now clear that the American empire which
> grew during the early years of the 20th century, is now in decline.
> The future will be a much more multipolar world in which the USA
> does not dictate the way forward. The BRIC countries, Brazil, Russia,
> India, China, and their partner states, are a lot more economically
> powerful and influential than the pure numbers would suggest. China
> has a lot of effort going into IPv6, and this will find its way into
> a lot more devices and software going forward. The past few years have
> seen a real flourishing of innovation, not just imitation, in China.
> At the same time, Russia, has a strong government that is steadily
> growing its economy and standard of living. Internet access is a
> keystone
> of that development. They definitely have the brainpower to make
> the IPv6 Internet more secure than the IPv4 one was. India is no  
> longer
> just a place where you send menial clerical work. It is now becoming  
> an
> IT powerhouse that is attracting highly skilled and experienced Indian
> immigrants back home. Big pipes are going into India to support this
> network-centric working. And Brazil has always intervened to support
> it's own internal IT industry. Sooner or later, it will do so again.
> In particular, Russia, India and China have very UNDERdeveloped IPv4
> Internet
> infrastructure, and they are close together, practically neighbors, so
> one
> can expect to see various kinds of Internet deployment joint  
> projects in
> the
> next few years to pull this off. They will have to do it with IPv6
> because
> there ain't enough IPv4 addresses left. The writing is on the wall.
> The Alexa 500 are irrelevant to these countries. They build their own
> anyway,
> such as Baidu in China, Rambler in Russia, and so on. The non-English
> Internet, which most of you will never see, is becoming a far bigger
> factor
> in how we transition to IPv6.
> --Michael Dillon

Interesting story Michael, but I think you've got the causality  

IPv4 is incapable of having a *direct, significant, positive* impact  
on growth and innovation in places where only one or at most a handful  
of institutions can satisfy the sort of needs-based tests that have  
been the benchmark for RIR allocations. In environments where it's  
possible and economically feasible for multiple institutions to build,  
or buy, rent, or enjoy some other form of beneficial control over the  
inputs required, e.g., to multihome and/or assemble and maintain  
distributed network infrastructure, the presence of those conditions  
is revealed by widening and deepening demand (i.e., initial and  
subsequent allocations) of IPv4. Under those conditions, IPv4 actually  
has the use value that it was designed for. Maybe IPv(x) is the  
indispensable glue required for economies to realize the benefits that  
such environments provide.

In any case, until very recently (at least), China, Russia, and India  
did not exhibit such conditions, and that's the *only* thing you can  
infer -- or predict -- based on their relative IPv4 underdevelopment  
to date.

+96 bits: no more magic, but no less. If IPv4 were around forever,  
then the moment that the economies you referenced really did/do  
change, then the results would be visible in the delegated files and  
the routing table. With IPv6 we'll never have an equally fine-grained  
view, so we may never know for sure about changes "under the hood"  
that happen in the IPv6 future.

Working in Europe does give one a keen sense of the practical  
indivisibility of domestic and cross-border networks/traffic/ 
relationships, etc. But Michael, how much stronger would you say that  
indivisibility is today, as compared to c. 2000?

Things may never go back in Europe, but much of the rest of the world  
doesn't look much so much like Europe right now , and I'm not  
fatalistic enough to accept the idea that a brighter future is  
predetermined for either regardless of how things shake out over the  
next few years.


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