[arin-ppml] Draft Policy 2009-1: Is there an Emergency?

David Farmer farmer at umn.edu
Mon Mar 30 02:05:39 EDT 2009

I would like to motivate a discussion of the question "Is there 
an Emergency?"

I have heard several people express the opinion that they don't 
see an emergency.  I would like to respectfully disagree with 
that opinion.

In my opinion the crux of the emergency is IPv4 exhaustion 
combined with the lack of IPv6 adoption, which means we are 
going to hit the proverbial wall when it comes to functional IP 
address availability.  But when does this become an 

Maybe we can use a car accident as a metaphor;  When does 
a car accident start?  When you hit the wall?  When the 
airbags deploy?  When you fail to make the turn or hit the 
breaks in time to prevent yourself from hitting the wall?

Using this metaphor, I propose;  IANA free pool exhaustion is 
equivalent to the car hitting the wall.  The trigger set in 2009-2: 
Depleted IPv4 Reserves, is the equivalent of the airbags going 
off shortly after the car hits the wall.  RIR and ISP free pool 
exhaustion are equivalent to the passengers hitting the interior 
of the car and the brain and internal organs colliding with the 
skull and the rest of the body, receptively.  

So when did the IPv4 car accident start, when did we hit the 
point where we would inextricably hit the wall?  I'm not exactly 
sure, but I think most of us started realizing back in 2007 that 
we were going to inextricably hit the wall.  And today, to me 
personally it is virtually unquestionable that will we are going to 
hit the wall.  We obviously haven't hit the wall just yet, but the 
car is headed toward the wall to fast to stop or turn, the 
accident must and will happen. 

Further, it is possible we don't have as much time as we think 
we do.  We currently have approximately 500 Million IPv4 
address in the IANA Free Pool.  While current projections, 
based on current usage rates, provide a little over two years to 
exhaustion[1].  However, it is not difficult to imagine scenarios 
where the IANA free pool could be exhausted much sooner 
than that.  For example, if mobile providers were to start 
issuing IPv4 address to mobile hand sets it wouldn't be hard to 
exhaust the IANA free pool in no time flat[2].  

[1] http://www.potaroo.net/tools/ipv4/index.html


I'm not saying that will or even should happen, but it is by no 
means impossible.  Further, under current policies if the mobile 
industry came to the RIRs for IPv4 addresses for hand set, the 
RIRs would likely have to fulfill the requests, and exhaust the 
IANA free pool in short order.  

Therefore, at least in reference to IPv4, I believe there is a 
valid Emergency.

So, I'm interested to hear other people's opinion on if there is 
an emergency.

David Farmer				     Email:	
farmer at umn.edu
Office of Information Technology
Networking & Telecomunication Services
University of Minnesota			     Phone:	612-626-
2218 University Ave SE			     Cell:		
Minneapolis, MN 55414-3029		     FAX:	612-626-

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