back to article RIPE NCC handing out last European IPv4 addresses

The Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) has started to hand out the last remaining Internet Protocol version 4 addresses in its possession. Anyone who wants some more IPv4 addresses can still get them, provided they are already signed up to acquire IPv6 addresses from RIPE NCC or another internet …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the club

    So another NIC joins the "running out of IPv4 space" club, thus giving APNIC some company.

    Now the question, who's next? At the moment ARIN and LACNIC are near neck-and-neck with LACNIC leading just slightly at the moment. ARIN is dropping faster, but also has the most unadvertised space of all the RIRs.

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Welcome to the club

      The bigger question is: Why do still almost all websites and internet services support only IPv4, and why do most ISP's still not offer proper IPv6 support?

      Running out of space apparently means NOTHING to these hosting outfits and ISP's. Nothing at all. Because they still don't offer even the simplest IPv6 accessibility. And they've been warned for years.

      Now, I'm with a hosting firm that offers IPv6 IP's on even their basic £10/month account if you want one. You click a request button and, bam, it gives you an address. Trouble is that it does exactly that for IPv4 as well and you can get 5 consecutive addresses, no questions asked. The fact that they're consecutive tells me that they actually allocate 5 to each customer anyway.

      It honestly and truly looks like people won't give a damn (even the techy people, who are supposed to be leading the way and reading things like The Reg and Slashdot, neither of which offer AAAA records!) until they can't get an address. Especially when the doomsayers have been saying for years that we are running out, they're just not going to listen until there's none left and then they'll face some awkward questions like "Why can't we buy a website that's accessible to 99% of our customers who only use IPv4 still because that's all their ISP/router offers them?".

      And for all the scaremongering, those leading the charge and reporting the shortages are the worst example:,,, etc. do not have AAAA records and even google's IPv6 requires your ISP to be "approved" by them for compatibility before they open it up to you. Is it hard to publish an AAAA record for a website? Not really. Certainly nothing compared to deploying a script of some kind. But nobody does it.

      Sort it out, websites and other Internet services, and then maybe we can all be high-and-mighty about the end of IPv4 rather than sheepishly reporting it and hoping it doesn't happen.

      1. djack

        Re: Welcome to the club

        What ISP are you with?

      2. Adrian Bool
        Thumb Up

        FYI: Since "World IPv6 Launch" (06/06/2012) Google no longer requires your ISP to be approved to access them via IPv6.

        Fully agree with all your other comments...

      3. Fatman

        Re: can get 5 consecutive addresses

        Most likely because you were allocated from a designated '/29' address space.

        A few years ago, i needed some static IP addresses for my then employer, and I was issued a block of 5 consecutive addresses, and realized what the ISP had done. If you recall, the "all bits zero" being the network address, and the "all bits one" being the broadcast address; a '/29' leaves you with 6 usable IP addresses. In my case, the ISP had set the first usable one as the "gateway" address; thus giving me the 5 consecutive addresses.

        Previously, we had only ONE static IP address, and it "ate" up a '/30' block, in the same manner.

  2. Great Bu

    An interesting write up of the issue....


    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: An interesting write up of the issue....

      Indeed, although the article seems to draw inspiration from Dilbert's the internet is full.

  3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Who cares?

    Already on IPv6 here. Now, if only sites like The Register would switch to a dual stack service like Heise has done.

    host has address

    host has address has IPv6 address 2a02:2e0:3fe:100::7

    1. Christian Berger

      Re: Who cares?

      Maybe, and I'm only judging that from the hardware reviews, The Register is just not good with computers and stuff.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...The likes of Cisco, IBM and MS sell the millions of addresses they own....but then they may just hold onto them to force IPv6 through that bit quicker.

    1. PyLETS

      Re: Until....

      Yes, as far as IPV4 addresses are concerned, there is still a fair bit of toothpaste in that tube, and it will never run out entirely. People get a new tube when the effort of getting the last of the toothpaste out of the old one gets to be not worth it. There's also a finite amount of toothpaste in a tube, so less to go around in exchange for more work obtaining it. Same applies to other tube squeezing techniques such as CGN (Carrier Grade NAT), ever more frequent renumbering of existing networks, IP4 block address markets causing increasing router table fragmentation and routing outages etc. Hanging onto large unused blocks now is likely to yeild better financial returns when the price is at its highest. But as more people switch over, it won't stay there for long - another 10 - 15 years and IPV4 will probably cease to be globally routable.

      For advanced networking users, the game already isn't worth the candle and the time to go dual stack in preparation for an eventual switchover is now.

  5. GrumpyJoe

    What do you think the chances are

    of Virgin media introducing IPv6 across their network, or just stuffing people behind multiple NAT proxies? Hmmm.....

    1. PyLETS

      Re: What do you think the chances are

      Virgin Media are one of the few UK ISPs whose IPv4 customer routers are transparent to protocol 41 which means I can run my domestic connection dual stack using a Hurricane Electric provided (free) tunnel. That will break if they did stuff existing customers with single IPV4 addresses behind another NAT layer, but they wouldn't dare do that because many, many more things than that would break, including everything which relies on port forwarding or uPNP. My hosted server on Bytemark's network also runs dual stack.

      1. GrumpyJoe

        Re: What do you think the chances are

        I've looked at the tunnels but I still want a direct IPv6 address direct to my house, not via a tunnel. Fewer points of failure are better.

        1. PyLETS

          Re: What do you think the chances are

          I still want a direct IPv6 address direct to my house

          Yes, and I'd prefer this too for similar reasons. But until my ISP provides dual stack direct, the fact that I can obtain IPV6 access via tunnelling enables me to get my knowledge and networked applications and services up to scratch by being able to test things are working correctly at all levels.

  6. Alex Brett

    Sadly the ISPs are looking at CGN

    Unfortunately the ISPs see the answer as Carrier Grade NAT (CGN) - while for a fairly large proportion of their customers this will likely work (most *commonly used* protocols don't require you to have a public IP, the only notable exception that comes to mind is BitTorrent, but I'm sure ISPs won't mind causing their users problems there!), the big thing they're missing is that it won't be long before we start having services that are IPv6 only (as the providers can't get any IPv4 addressing for them), at which point CGN doesn't help...

    1. Chris007

      Re: Sadly the ISPs are looking at CGN @Alex Brett

      You're banned from the forum - people making sensible comments have no place on El Reg ;-)

    2. Jon Press

      Re: Sadly the ISPs are looking at CGN

      Well, if nearly all wireless routers you'd handed out to your 4,000,000+ customers can't do IPv6 and never will, and the margins you earn from those customers are relatively thin, it's not entirely surprising that ISPs are looking at other solutions.

      My suspicion is it's probably too late for IPv6 or any carrier-originated "Plan B". Your potential service provider who can't get an IPv4 address is probably going to have to host his service with a cloud provider who has plenty of them and can put multiple services behind each one using http host header names and similar tricks. I suspect this is just going to entrench Google/Amazon/... in the position of being "The Internet".

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: Sadly the ISPs are looking at CGN

        Most very large ISPs are in that bind, but they also know that CGNs are going to be an operational nightmare for a whole lot of reasons. That's why many of them see switching to an IPv6-only backbone as the cheapest long term solution, with an overlay solution of some kind to support the IPv4 legacy. Patience is needed.

    3. Daniel B.

      You say CGN like something in the future...

      Most cable co's over here (Mexico) have ALWAYS done CGN. Cablemodems are infamous over here for giving the 10.x.x.x addys, in so much that I learned about NAT because of this practice long before I ever even heard the term NAT, or the need for something like this.

      Hopefully, IPv6 will kill these shady practices...

  7. -tim

    Why fix the problem when you can reinvent the wheel?

    The / notation started with a simple concept... steal bits from the 32 bits used for the ports.

    That would mean a IPv4 /34 would take two bits from the source port bits and allow a /24 allocation to support 1024 hosts (minus broadcast and oh so useful network addresses).

    The problem was that two decades ago, the problem wasn't the number of addresses but the number of routes and that problem was solved by consolidating address space that may never be used to simply reduce the number of routes. Today we do things nearly the same way and still have major core routers trying to cope with more routes than they can and dropping thing. The IPv4/32+ solution works with nearly every modern router today using their NAT tools and a few simple changes in the TCP stacks allow most end point machines to cope with it transparently and most non-peering routers don't need to be changed at all.

    1. Jon Press

      Re: Why fix the problem when you can reinvent the wheel?

      Actually, if you simply treat a public IPv4 address as an endpoint identifier in a linear 32-bit space and on the ISP side you look it up in a different table to get the actual network addresss (which might be an IPv6 address or other longer address that can be used for meaningful routing with prefixes for aggregation, etc) you'd have 4 billion addresses available for public-facing services, which is probably enough for quite a while.

      These alternative solutions, and there are several that seem quite technically workable, all have one or more apparently-insuperable problems:

      a) Everyone has to agree to implement them

      b) Existing address assigments may be invalidated and require renumbering

      c) The perceived monetary value in existing address assignments is destroyed

      d) Someone has to be funded to work on the spec

      Since everyone has been told the solution is IPv6 (and a sizeable community believe it), you're not going to get even rough consensus on another solution. People who've staked their claim to IPv4 address space aren't going to give it up (either "just in case" or because they hope to make real money out of it). Most of the IETF crowd who work in this space are funded by outfits who've put an awful lot of money into products supporting IPv6, so don't expect them to be keen on revisiting it.

  8. Marcel
    Black Helicopters

    Why don't we just take Iran's IPv4 addresses?

    An American lobby group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), is seriously pressuring RIPE (and ICANN) into cutting Iran off the internet. That's also a way to get some more IPv4 addresses...

    P.S. Cutting a whole country off internet because their government supposedly does naughty things, is a very bad idea in my humble opinion.

    1. Fatman

      Re: Cutting a whole country off internet because their government supposedly does naughty things...

      Just imagine the howls coming from the USA if the rest oft he world decided to cut THEM off from the internet?

      That would mean that I would be unable to ""enjoy"" posting comments here at 'El Reg'.

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