[AfrICANN-discuss] The year in IPv4 addresses: almost 200 million served

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Sat Jan 3 15:32:15 SAST 2009

 The year in IPv4 addresses: almost 200 million


By Iljitsch van Beijnum <http://arstechnica.com/authors.ars/iljitsch> |
Published: January 02, 2009 - 12:31PM CT

One of the first things I do every year on the first of January is have a
look at what happened with the IP address stockpile during the previous
year. We started 2008 with 1,122.85 million unused addresses left and we
ended it with 925.58 million. So the world used up 197.27 million IPv4
addresses in 2008, increasing use of the total address space from 69.7
percent a year ago to 75.3 percent now.
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The IP address space is managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
(IANA), which is part of ICANN, the people who normally debate the virtues
of .xxx domains. IANA maintains a
list<http://www.iana.org/assignments/ipv4-address-space/>of 256 blocks
of 16,777,216 IPv4 addresses each, identified by the first
8-bit number in an IP address. Each of those "/8" blocks is either delegated
to a Regional Internet Registry (RIR), is unallocated (available for future
delegation), has legacy status, or is reserved for a special use.

The table below shows the overall distribution of IPv4 addresses among the
regional registrars.

  *Delegated to/status* *Blocks* *+/- 2008* *Addresses (millions)* *Used
(millions)* *Available (millions)*  AfriNIC 2   33.55 9.18 24.37  APNIC 30
+4 503.32 454.36 48.96  ARIN 31 +4 520.09 446.06 74.03  LACNIC 6   100.66
68.88 31.78  RIPE NCC 26   436.21 423.65 12.56  LEGACY 92 +1 1543.50 1363.29
180.21  UNALLOCATED 34 -9 570.43   570.43  *Totals* *221* * * *3707.76* *
2765.42* *942.34*

APNIC (Asia-pacific region) and ARIN (North America) both got four new /8
blocks last year—ARIN got two of those just before Christmas. LACNIC (Latin
America and Caribbean) and especially AfriNIC (Africa) still have a lot of
address space to work with, but it looks like the RIPE NCC (Europe, Middle
East, former USSR) will be receiving more address space from IANA soon.

The block that was added to the legacy pile is, which was given
out to the US DoD Network Information Center, which apparently didn't want
this information to appear in the IANA list, but it's now listed as
"administered by ARIN." (See my full
report<http://www.bgpexpert.com/addrspace2008.php>for additional

Things get more interesting when we look at the top 15 list of largest IP
address-using countries. The US is still at the top, having 52.4 percent of
all IPv4 addresses in use—which includes the vast majority of the legacy
space. However, a few years ago this was at 60 percent, so 52 is actually an

Despite that, the US was still the largest user of *new* IPv4 addresses in
2008 with 50.08 million addresses used. China was a close second with 46.5
million new addresses last year, an increase of 34 percent.

 *Rank* *Was* *2009-01-01 (millions)* *2008-01-01 (millions)* *Increase* *
Country*  1   1458.21 1408.15 4% United States  2 3 181.80 135.31 34% China
3 2 151.56 141.47 7% Japan  4   120.29 120.35 0% Europe general  5   86.31
83.50 3% United Kingdom  6 7 81.75 72.46 13% Germany  7 6 74.49 73.20 2%
Canada  8   68.04 67.79 0% France  9   66.82 58.86 14% Korea  10   36.26
33.43 8% Australia  11 12 29.75 23.46 27% Brazil  12 11 29.64 24.04 23%
Italy  13 16 24.01 19.83 21% Taiwan  14 18 23.18 17.01 36% Russia  15 14
21.67 20.42 6% Spain

Although China and Brazil saw huge increases in their address use,
suggesting that the developing world is demanding a bigger part of the pie
while IPv4 addresses last, what's really going on is more complex. India is
still stuck in 18th place between the Netherlands and Sweden at 18.06
million addresses—only a tenth of what China has. And Canada, the UK, and
France saw little or no increase in their numbers of addresses, while
similar countries like Germany, Korea, and Italy saw double-digit percentage

A possible explanation could be that the big player(s) in some countries are
executing a "run on the bank" and trying to get IPv4 addresses while the
getting is good, while those in other countries are working on more NAT
(Network Address Translation) and other address conservation techniques in
anticipation of the depletion of the IPv4 address reserves a few years from

In both cases, adding some IPv6 to the mix would be helpful. Even though
last year the number of IPv6 addresses given
out<http://www.bgpexpert.com/addrspace-ipv6.php>increased by almost a
factor eight over 2007, the total amount of IPv6
address space in use is just 0.027 percent.
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