Reply to post: Re: Lies, damned lies, and statistics that don't lie.

We are absolutely, definitively, completely and utterly out of IPv4 addresses, warns RIPE

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: Lies, damned lies, and statistics that don't lie.

It's a claim you often see from commentards, but if you're planning to write an article one would hope for a little more precision. The IETF made a lot of mistakes over IPv6, but the reason for IPv6 was precisely to anticipate the fact that once you've allocated your last IPv4 address you're snookered.

I'd say that the fundamental (in retrospect) design error was in the Unix network API: the client program has to pass an address to the connect() which means it needs to be aware of the structure of the address and explicitly convert a host name before the call. DECnet, for example, allowed you pass the host name (effectively) in the connect() equivalent, so you could in theory switch from Phase IV (16 bit addresses) to Phase V without even having to recompile your programs - the network software did the heavy lifting and chose the combination of protocols (Phase V also used a different transport, so it was like changing both IP and TCP) that would allow communication as the network transitioned.

But in fact, it wouldn't have made a huge difference. Despite it being rather easier to move to Phase V, DECnet users in fact migrated to TCP/IP because scientific institutions were starting to find that RiSC-based computers running Unix were cheaper to acquire than DEC hardware and dedicated cisco routers were cheaper and better-performing than serial cards plugged into mainframes. It came down to cost rather than technical merit.

In the end, it's the bottom line that will drive the process and it's hard enough to get people to see beyond the end of the next quarter and if another hack will postpone some transition costs, then another hack will be sought.

There are a number of things that could have been done that would have made transition easier while there were still IPv4 addresses available, but it's too late for that now. Only political and economic incentives will have any effect, but it's difficult to see how these can be sufficiently compelling: the Internet continues to work as far as most end users see it and end users will not see any improvement from IPv6 - the only thing that might have provided a marketing incentive. Unless, Google, say, makes an announcement that it's turning off its IPv4 connectivity soon, I can't see the urgency increasing.

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