There are PLENTY of IP Addresses!!

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If you follow CNN, you’re almost certainly already aware that, due to a shortage of IP addresses, “the internet might stop working.”

I just wanted to take a moment to make three quick points:

1) The Internet is not going to stop working when we run out of IP addresses. In fact, that whole idea is incomprehensibly dumb.

2) There are PLENTY of IP addresses!!

Okay, get this… There are fewer than 300 million internet users in the world. There are over 4 BILLION IPv4 addresses.

Get it? There are plenty of addresses. The problem is not the number of addresses. The problem is that the crackheads assigning them don’t care whether or not they end up being utilized. What an incredible (and expensive) waste.

3) There is a very simple solution to this that doesn’t involve spending billions of dollars on forcing the world to move to IPv6 before it’s ready:

ARIN should just start reclaiming unused IP blocks.

It’s that simple. It really is.

Ping each IP address, and if there’s no response, check a few ports.

Use that data to create a utilization metric for each IP block.

If the IP block is underutilized, or not used at all, simply recover part or all of the IP block for someone else to use.

That’s it. That’s all that has to be done.

People are idiots.

One comment to “There are PLENTY of IP Addresses!!”

  1. Comment by Chris Grundemann:

    Interesting take, as someone who has been deeply involved in this conversation for over three years now I do have a couple of questions:

    1) Where did you get your fewer than 300 million users number? From the numbers I have seen, we crossed that line before the turn of the century. The latest number I have seen is closer to 2billion![1] In fact, the CIAs estimate from 2008 shows over 700 million users in just the top 5 Internet using countries.[2]

    2) Do you understand that the Internet requires more than one address per user? Laptop, PC, Cell-Phone, Voip-Phone, Etc. Plus you need addresses for network infrastructure; routers switches, DNS servers, firewalls, etc. And let’s not forget that the servers you are accessing on the Internet need addresses too – every website, mail server, instant messaging service, online store, etc…

    3) How exactly do you propose ARIN (or the other four RIRs) to reclaim addresses? Let’s say there is a lot of waste. OK, how do you get the address back? If company A has under-utilized IPv4 space and you give part of that space to company B, but company A continues to advertise that space to the Internet – then how does company B use the space?

    ARIN and the other RIRs are working on a possible solution to the last point, it is called secure interdomain routing (SIDR) but is not a standard yet and will take time to deploy.

    I am glad to see some interest in this topic here but I think you are basing your conclusion on bad data and thus drawing an over-simplified conclusion. If you think I am wrong, please jump onto the ARIN public policy mailing list (PPML)[3] and suggest your idea there. ARIN is a completely open, transparent and ground-up organization. Their policy is driven by the community, so you can share your ideas and if others agree it will become policy.

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