As we covered recently, IPv4 addresses on the internet are running out, and the transition to IPv6 is growing ever more urgent. Today, APNIC, the Regional Internet Registry charged with allocating IP addresses to the Asia-Pacific region announced that their free pool of addresses has dwindled to the final /8 block, 16,777,216 addresses in total.
This triggers the final phase of the allocation policy in the region, bringing in far more stringent controls on how ISPs are able to obtain extra addresses to use on their networks. According to the policy, the intention is to provide member ISPs a single allocation of a /22 block, 1024 addresses, from the remaining pool.
This restrictive policy also ensures that enough IPv4 space will be available to facilitate transition services, aimed at easing the move to IPv6 addressing, and ensuring customers see no disruption of service.
APNIC is actively encouraging ISPs in their region to push towards providing IPv6 connectivity to clients, and with only 1024 additional IPv4 addresses available to each ISP on top of any existing unused allocations they may have, there will be little choice but to deploy the services. APNIC report that the majority of governments in their region have IPv6 initiatives to ensure they are not left behind.
It is only a matter of time before other RIRs begin to feel the squeeze. Whilst initial predictions suggested no region would reach this phase until the summer, it appears that either panic-buying, or simply higher growth than expected is taking its toll. Owen DeLong, from Hurricane Electric, told ZDNet today that he believes "RIPE is probably next and will probably be in a few months. Counting on IPv4 for continued growth is a dead-end strategy."