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Networking The Almighty Buck The Internet IT Technology

Black Market May Develop For IPv4 Addresses 282

Posted by kdawson
from the step-into-this-alleyway dept.
GMGruman writes "Everyone knows that we're running out of traditional IPv4 Internet addresses and that switching to IPv6 is the answer — yet foot-dragging by IT departments and vendors means the problem is still on the back burner. IPv4/IPv6 coexistence is now expected to last for 5 years. In this article, Mel Beckman explains how this is all leading to a black market in traditional IPv4 addresses that will catch many people off-guard, and boost Internet access prices sky-high."
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Black Market May Develop For IPv4 Addresses

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  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:41PM (#32081274) Homepage

    You mean they will start NATing more often for residential customers. Long gone will be the default of having a dynamic Public IP address. Want one of those? That will cost extra.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by wish bot (265150)

      Double NAT, double good!

      P.S. 10.1.x.x going cheap. Mail me!

    • by youn (1516637) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:20AM (#32081520) Homepage

      my provider uses 10.* addresses there therefore I had to change the addressing scheme on my LAN because I didn't want stuff routed accidentally... pisses me off... I'm sure more and more providers will do that... and that's accidents waiting to happen.

      Ahhh, I long for the days when a private address was garanteed to be private. why don't they switch already to ipv6... it's been 15 years. I know it will irk some people but it's stable enough and it's about time... and as time passes it's going to get harder because people will be more dependent on the internet.

      Most OSs & routers are compatible... I say it's time to require the change... give people a 6 month warning and switch... should be plenty of time to address most issues

      • by ls671 (1122017) * on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @02:42AM (#32082188) Homepage

        > my provider uses 10.* addresses there therefore I had to change the
        > addressing scheme on my LAN because

        Why did you chose 10.x.x.x for your LAN in the first place ? I doubt that you are planning to connect 16,777,216 machines to your LAN ;-)

        Guide lines are to use:

        192.168.X.X if you need 65,536 IP addresses or less

        172.16.X.X-172.31.X.X if you need between 65,536 and 1,048,576 IP addresses

        10.X.X.X if you need between 1,048,576 and 16,777,216 IP addresses

        Routing is slightly faster with more bits in your netmask. Although I do not think that you will notice a difference especially nowadays. I think this was one of the reasons for these guidelines. Following the guide lines also ease connectivity to bigger nated networks, your provider in your case.

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

        How are they doing it? Can you hear the entire 10.0.0.0/8 network, or are they simply providing a single NAT address for internal use (i.e., on your final point to point link).

        I'm actually surprised that more residential providers haven't put the majority of their customers on NAT's, and providing public IP's as the exception, not the rule.

        I'm annoyed when some SEO "expert" wants a dozen /24's to stick on a handful of boxes because "the search engines will know

      • by nmg196 (184961)

        10.* addresses are not really for home use - so I'm not really surprised you ran into conflicts. Home routers tend to use 192.168.x addresses for that reason. 10.x addresses are really for where you conceive you might need hundreds of thousands of IP addresses on your own private network (eg, you're probably an ISP or a university campus).

      • by vtcodger (957785)

        ***Ahhh, I long for the days when a private address was garanteed to be private. why don't they switch already to ipv6...***

        Probably because deep down inside, a whole lot of people think ipv6 is going to be a massive bundle of fascinating bugs and general grief. They wish to let somebody else clean it up to the extent that is possible. It's a matter of avoidance of pain.

        So, feel free to switch over to ipv6. But don't be too surprised if you look back and don't find a crowd following you. Be sure and wri

      • give people a 6 month warning and switch... should be plenty of time to *address* most issues

        I see what you did there.

    • by optikos (1187213) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @01:13AM (#32081836)
      Not quite. Numerically, you will still have the same "public" IPv4 address that you have today (either dynamic or static). It is just that it will be like that _Star Trek NG_ episode where, upon hearing something munching on the Enterprise's hull, Dr. Crusher asks the ship's computer "What is the nature of the universe?" to which the answer comes back "The universe is an oblate spheroid one kilometer in diameter." In the IPv4-lives-on-forever world, "public" will be redefined to "among all of the subscribers of the same ISP" (not "worldwide" anymore). Then *all* IPv4 addresses (other than loopback and test ranges) will be NATed between ISPs/carriers. In other words, there will not be one Internet address-space anymore, but rather one IPv4-sized address space per ISP/carrier/telco. The goal is to carve the single Internet up into multiple per-telco Internets with interworking at the telco-to-telco or ISP-to-ISP boundary. There will be the AT&T Internet and separately the Verizon Internet and separately the Deutsche Telekom Internet and so forth.
      • by feepness (543479) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @01:50AM (#32082000) Homepage

        It is just that it will be like that _Star Trek NG_ episode where, upon hearing something munching on the Enterprise's hull, Dr. Crusher asks the ship's computer "What is the nature of the universe?" to which the answer comes back "The universe is an oblate spheroid one kilometer in diameter."

        Dude, there was nothing munching on the hull, people were disappearing because she had dropped into a collapsing warp bubble of her own private universe!

        CRUSHER: Computer, what's happening?
        COMPUTER: Explosive decompression decks five through fourteen. Sealing off forward sections.
        CRUSHER: Cause?
        COMPUTER: A flaw in the ship's design.
        CRUSHER: Show me. Analysis.
        COMPUTER: No ship's structures exist forward of bulkhead three four two.


        God!

        • by Rogerborg (306625)
          Calm down, dear. It's TNG we're talking about - a fictional show. Now if he'd misquoted the Documentary Series, we'd have a problem.
    • by wiz_80 (15261)

      My ISP has done that since forever. At least they set up the routing so that I can get to the IPs of other subscribers, but I can't SSH into my machine from work, at least not without a bit of work up front.

    • you just gave gthe economic argument for IPv6.

      Nobody gives a shit (about anything) till it starts costing them money. When IPv4 gets expensive, people will move to v6 and sell their v4 addresses.

      Don't worry about it.

  • Truth is (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:44PM (#32081294)

    IPv4 is like oil. It'll never go away.

    Luckily, IPv4 isn't a bad technology.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      IPv4 might be, but IPv4 addresses certainly are not like oil. The remaining addresses are not harder to find or costlier to acquire. The rate at which these addresses are assigned will increase right up to the very end, when suddenly there won't be new any new allocations, first by the IANA to the RIRs and then by the regional internet registries to ISPs. The supply of IPv4 addresses is finite. We know that we need more addresses than there are, the vast majority of addresses are already assigned and the ra

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:48PM (#32081318)

    So if I have IPs, and someone else needs IPs, I sell them some of my IPs... What's the problem here? For that matter, that is how it works for anyone who's not a big provider. When I wanted static IPs for my cable connection I asked my cable ISP. They said sure, $5/month/each.

    I'm just not sure I see a problem. Goes double since higher IPv4 prices may encourage IPv6. Consider:

    Say I'm an ISP, we have all old v4 hardware. To the extent our routers support v6, it is all in software meaning that any significant amount of IPv6 will overload them. They only have IPv4 ASICs. I don't wanna upgrade because it is expensive. So I keep getting more and more customers that want IPs. However, I run out, my allocation is gone. ARIN says "Sorry, all space is allocated." So I go looking around. Turns out I can buy a /24... But for 500x what I used to. Ouch. Well then, maybe time to get some IPv6 hardware.

    Likewise it could encourage customers to want IPv6. A company buys a net connection and says "We need 32 IPs." ISP says "Well you can have 32 v4 IPs for $3200/month, or you can have as many IPv6 IPs as you want, and 1 IPv4 IP for 6-to-4." Company says "Oh ok, v6 may be more of a pain, but it is worth it to save the money."

    What it comes down to is we need to migrate away from IPv4. That'll be a long process, but one thing that'll help it along is if there's economic incentive to move to IPv6. Right now, the situation is generally that there is an economic DISincentive to move to v6. You need new hardware, sometimes new software, etc. It costs money and IPv4 works fine. However, if v4 starts costing more, that makes v6 more attractive.

    So I don't see this as a "black market" nor do I see it as a big problem.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tuzanor (125152)
      Any market that forms that people don't want to form is a black market. They'd prefer some "benevolent" agency to dole out the limited amount, nevermind that a few organizations are holding massive amounts of unused IP ranges. Making them worth money will encourage them to release them, but these people are afraid of markets.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689)

        Any market that forms that people don't want to form is a black market. They'd prefer some "benevolent" agency to dole out the limited amount, nevermind that a few organizations are holding massive amounts of unused IP ranges. Making them worth money will encourage them to release them, but these people are afraid of markets.

        I think you're confusing "afraid of markets" with "afraid of unregulated markets".

        If you don't understand why unregulated markets are bad, feel free to pickup a history book and look at the American business landscape in the 100 years preceding the 1930s.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by optikos (1187213)

        Any market that forms that people don't want to form is a black market.

        No, you have effectively defined "gray market" instead: an unauthorized market in commercial goods. Now if we were to pass a law that makes possession of an IPv4 address (or /8 IPv4 address) a crime (especially a felony instead of misdemeanor), then it becomes a black market. black = crime in criminal courts. gray = unauthorized breech of contract in civil courts.

      • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @01:09AM (#32081810)

        They'd prefer some "benevolent" agency to dole out the limited amount, nevermind that a few organizations are holding massive amounts of unused IP ranges.

        Not "nevermind" - that's exactly why the IP addresses should be doled out by a regulator and NOT resold. Just because some chain of company buyouts leads back from you to somebody that requested a /8 when they were given away for free, does NOT mean you have somehow "earned" millions of dollars in any meaningful sense. There is NO reason to financially reward such behavior.

        The free-market-true-believers-under-all-circumstances crowd is correct that markets always find some solution, but why can't they see that sometimes it's a bad one?

        • by Rakishi (759894)

          So if I found a now rare coin in my attic that my great granddad got from a bank than you say it's bad for me to sell it? If I bought a stock that then went up is it wrong for me to sell it at a profit? Or is it only evil when it's a method in which YOU can't make money yourself?

          What's a better solution? IP4s are a limited resource, a market would allocate them in the most efficient manner possible. They're a valuable resource as well which means people are both willing and will pay for it. You can try to r

          • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @02:15AM (#32082094)
            A market based solution would be good if IP addresses were leased instead of (permanently) given away in the first place. Curently, even a charge of e.g. $1/address/year would free up millions of addresses given away in huge blocks in the early days to a small number of businesses and universities.
            • by Rakishi (759894)

              I like the idea of leasing in principle (granted, $2+ billion a year seems amusingly high) but practically it may not work. Hell, practically black market auctions probably won't work either.

              Changing ip ranges is apparently very expensive to do for large entities, almost as expensive to do so once as moving to ip6. With selling there's a way of offsetting the costs of such a move and no one is forced to change their use.

          • by Patch86 (1465427)

            So if I found a now rare coin in my attic that my great granddad got from a bank than you say it's bad for me to sell it?

            No. But if you're using "found in attic" as the basis for a whole economic industry worth millions, then I'd say it was a little far from ideal.

            We allow people to play the lottery, but no-one is suggesting that a lottery would be the best way to, for example, allocate corporate support contracts, or rail franchises. What is OK on a small scale for individuals isn't necessarily OK for the world as a whole.

            • by Rakishi (759894)

              I don't think you understand. The stuff has already been allocated, that's the whole problem.

              The black market auctions are to fix the allocation mess that was already created. Get a time machine if you want to fix that mess, the rest of us have already shrugged and moved on.

              We allow people to play the lottery, but no-one is suggesting that a lottery would be the best way to, for example, allocate corporate support contracts, or rail franchises. What is OK on a small scale for individuals isn't necessarily OK for the world as a whole.

              Well congratulations, what do you think is the point of having black market auctions? The lottery has already happened. A landlocked farmer in Wisconsin just won an oil tanker and it's rusting in a harbor. Now we're onto the point of him

      • Any market that forms that corporate/government interests don't want to form is a black market.

          Fixed, with respect.

        SB

    • I know a guy who can get you a slash 29, but it'll cost you.

      More of a technical issue ... how are the people in this "black market" going to handle the routing?

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by JumpDrive (1437895)
      You have just pointed out the reason why a number of providers are dragging there feet about switching
      They don't have to train anyone, hire anyone else, update any hardware, just sit and wait and in a couple of years everybody will be screaming.
      "WE'RE OUT OF IP's , WE'RE OUT OF IP's"
      It will make it to the business section 2 columns half a page, one paragraph explaining solution. But most of the article will talk about the shortage and the burden it has placed on ISP's who now have to manage and ration I
    • by houghi (78078)

      When I wanted static IPs for my cable connection I asked my cable ISP. They said sure, $5/month/each.

      If that is for ADDITIONAL IPs, that would be somewhat logical. If it is for the firs IP, then it is not. Cable modems connections are NOT the same as PSTN connections. Cable (and ADSL) will be likely to be connected all the time.

      This means that the provider needs at least the amount of IPs as it has customers. This means to have a fixed IP or a Dynamic IP does not make any difference in the number of IPs nee

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:55PM (#32081368)

    Could an organization with a /8 resell a block of their IP addresses? I can't imagine how someone like MIT or US Postal Service, could use 16million IP addresses, or HP use 32million (they have their own plus Compaq/DECs).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:59PM (#32081406)

      The problem with this is that it's likely to be more expensive to reconfigure their networks, internal address allocations, and everybody's routing tables in the world for those cut up /8's than it will be to just upgrade to IPv6. If somebody really needs v4 addresses that badly and want some space from these /8 holders, then they'll need to make it worth their while to start splitting them up.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Apparently someone's already done the arithmetic - IIRC at the current rate of growth, all you'd do is delay the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses by some stupidly small amount like 6-12 months.

  • For Sale (Score:5, Funny)

    by gooman (709147) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:01AM (#32081422) Journal

    Slightly used internet address.
    Act now and 127.0.0.0 could be yours today!
    Only $5.00!

    • by anarche (1525323)

      Damn, I was hoping that joke wasn't taken...

    • Great ping times, test it now!
  • Black Market (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:32AM (#32081606) Homepage

    How do you secretly buy something that only works, by definition, if the public routing table knows it belongs to you?

    • by maugle (1369813)

      How do you secretly buy something that only works, by definition, if the public routing table knows it belongs to you?

      Shadowy figure in alley: *Pssst*..... Hey, buddy, wanna buy a billboard ad?

    • by dissy (172727)

      How do you secretly buy something that only works, by definition, if the public routing table knows it belongs to you?

      A similar way that little chinese ISP ended up routing half of the worlds networks to them for a few hours.

      Any core routers willing to advertise the route will get traffic for that IP block.

      This only causes a problem when two route entries are 'out there' and the wrong one ends up taking control and everyone notices.
      In a case like this, the original owners won't be filing complaints and there shouldn't be two routes, just the one new one.

      Why would the ISP of the new-ip-block-owners question it if they have

  • by Illogical Spock (1058270) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:40AM (#32081650)

    1) Connect to my dynamic IP address ISP
    2) Post ad on eBay for the IP
    3) Sell it
    4) Disconnect
    5) Repeat from 1 to 5
    6) Profit!

  • by Kohath (38547) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @01:26AM (#32081892)

    If IPv4 addresses become very expensive, people will just ... switch to IPv6.

    Yeah. That's how free markets solve problems, be they black, or any other color.

    • Also as I said, I think that's what's really needed. IPv6 adoption will cost money, no question about that. Equipment will have to be replaced, software will have to be upgraded, bugs will have to be fixed, etc, etc. It won't just be "Flip this switch and everything magically works." Because of that it is real easy to have a lot of inertia with IPv4. After all it works, and it works well. All of us chattering here are a testament to that. Also there's been technologies to really easily extend it. NAT is a g

  • But usually when a chart contains a combination of past data and future predictions, it is customary to color the two sections differently or otherwise make a clear distinction between the two. I read that plot and thought (for a second) "Holy shit there are only 2 /8s left!" before realizing that it wasn't December 2010.

    Here is a good example: http://media3.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2009/03/21/GR2009032100104.gif [washingtonpost.com]

  • by soundguy (415780) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @02:13AM (#32082084) Homepage
    ARIN had a booth at Interop last week. I asked them why they don't confiscate the /8 that's assigned to Haliburton, which is mostly wasted. They said they don't want to get shot.
    • Thank you subject #415780. Your cooperation has been noted. We will take immediate action to discipline the member of staff of ARIN you talked to, so that in future his replacement will say the correct thing.

      Your commanding master, Haliburton.

  • To really do blackmarket on IP addresses you cannot be anyone.
    You need to be an ISP, with at least a LIR [wikipedia.org] to route those IPs almost everywhere or a hosting company so you don't move the IP but host the applications ... that article sounds a little bit non sense.
  • I'd be using it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dandart (1274360)
    I'd be using IPv6 if only my ISP supported it. I think all ISPs should get on with getting it out there, and then give us one by default. Then no one would have to worry, except the ISPs. Because IPv4's going to run out so soon, I'd recommend a nice round date for the deadline for the Internet switchover - 1/1/2011.
    • Yeah, that's a great idea - a massive technical switch over on a day when most people are off work.

  • Do something about it, you are a customer after all. (Assuming you have a choice about which ISP you give your business to, and aren't in some horrible monopoly situation)

    i) Complain to your ISP, ask them why they don't support IPv6
    ii) Threaten to switch to an ISP that does support IPv6
    iii) Actually switch to an ISP that supports IPv6, and tell your old ISP why you are moving.

    Companies will listen to their wallets, if nothing else.

    and yes, my ISP supports IPv6 native & tunneled and has a 6to4 g [aaisp.net.uk]
    • by Bert64 (520050)

      No, they won't unless a large number start demanding it...

      Even ISPs like A&A who actually support v6, combined with customers running OS which support it, will probably have routers which don't support it rendering it useless...

      What needs to happen, is for government to step in... Require that any provision of internet connectivity supports both v4 and v6 on an equal footing, and that all equipment sold does too. Once every site and every user is running on v6 then v4 can gradually be phased out. Look a

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      Out of interest, i know someone who runs an ISP which supports IPv6... And just for fun we looked the systems where ADSL connections terminate... Of just under 5000 active connections, 5 of them had IPv6 active - one of them was me, one was his testbox...

      It's a sad state of affairs when even geek oriented sites like slashdot don't support IPv6...

  • by speculatrix (678524) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:48AM (#32082808)
    I worked on contract in IT dept of an international bank based in the UK, actually somewhat in the north, more I dare not say. They used addresses from 10/8 like crazy, and when they ran out, started using 11/8

    Some of the skeptics will think I'm making it up. Battle-hardened IT pros will probably facepalm and know it has the ring of truth and that no-one would possibly come up with such a stupid plan and therefore it must be true!
    • by Junta (36770)

      I've had the exact same situation.

      More commonly, I see people use 192.x where x is not 168 thinking 192 is a class A private network (except they have no idea what those words mean).

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      I worked in a place where they used 172.0.0.0/8 for their addresses. It worked fine except all 172.0.0.0 addresses that are public were inaccessible because they'd go into the VPN network and get black holed or go to the private server with the same IP.
  • I thought Nortel Networks, which is bankrupt and almost gone now, had a class A address range (47.x.x.x). Will that not be freed up?
  • IPv6 has some immature aspects to it. IPv4 has had decades of hardening in the practical space. As the only viable protocol, all the issues encountered had to be solved and people couldn't bail on IPv4 if it were not fixed. Much of the experience has been translated over, but owners of IPv6 have been keen to try to rethink every aspect of how things are done, frequently missing corner cases or demanding a workflow change for net admins accustomed to IPv4. With no hard requirement driving these admins to

  • OK, you had me right up until the point where I noticed on the "shock and awe" graph in TFA that showed the "rapid decline, oh noes!!" of /8 netblocks.

    Gee, go figure. We're running out of blocks of IPv4 address space that are 16 million addresses wide. Shocking, I know.

  • by kpjlfm (1362781) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @09:05AM (#32083784)
    What happened to IPv5?? Did it go the way of the Oral A toothbrush?
  • by kevmeister (979231) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @09:47AM (#32084244)
    As one of the primary sources for this article, I'm rather distressed that the author really missed much of the point of a talk I made several months ago. When I spoke with Mr. Beckman, he was not clear on how the Internet numbering system works and, while he was was close in this article, he still does not appear to quite get it.

    One thing he got exactly right is that "If people have legitimate rules that permit address transfers, they'll use them instead of a black market." There is now a formal ARIN transfer policy which will allow transfers of address space for payment. This is the critical bit that will probably prevent any significant black market from developing and, more importantly, having any real impact on the Internet at large.

    The other thing that is absolutely right was his calling me an "pseudo economist". I am an engineer, not an economist, even if I do play one from time to time.

    the one things I must say is that the IPv4 address space is near exhaustion and things will change. The adoption of IPv6, it undertaken soon and in a competent manner, looks to be far the most likely way to the future. Not the only way, but the only way I see to continue the growth of the Internet as we know it today. It does not mean that massive NAT implementation, which will eventually re-shape the Internet into a very different thing, won't be what happens.

    Then again, I am only a "pseudo Economist" and even the real economists don't agree very often.

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