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[AfriNIC-rpd] Re: Proposal: Reclamation of allocated but unrouted IPv4 addresses.

Andrew Alston aa at
Thu Feb 10 08:04:45 UTC 2011

Hi Jackson,

I have to respectfully disagree.  You could be entering into very murky legal waters here, as was discussed on the nanog list recently. To use the example that one individual used in that discussion, look at the examples in the states of old model cars.  A car is required to have seat belts, but if your car pre-dated that requirement, you don't have to go and have them retro-fitted.

Secondly, I have to wonder if we are not perhaps flogging a dead horse here.  The simple fact is, even if you reclaimed a load of space, would you really be able to make a difference, particularly in the AfriNIC region, where the rest of the world is likely to have run out of IPv4 space and gone IPv6 only for large portions of the Internet at least a year or two before the current AfriNIC allocations are depleted?

Will this reclamation policy not put an immense load on AfriNIC staff to attempt to figure out on a constant basis who is doing what with their space and where it is announced etc, and detract from what should be happening (and is), that being a massive drive to get people to actually deploy IPv6.

Thirdly, by trying to reclaim little bits of space like this, do you not create a situation where there will simply be more and more illicit use of IP address space?  The fact is, the current IRR filtering systems have many flaws (which I won't go into here), and the RPKI solutions being proposed are a long way from ready (there isn't even code in the routers to support this yet, and even if we do see code to support it within the next 12 months, adoption is in my view going to be a long, difficult process, since there is still so much debate about RPKI, including debate about if we actually WANT to hand the world what amounts of a giant internet kill switch)

My experience says that if you give someone an excuse to not do something, chances are, they aren't going to do it.  By creating a way to reclaim IPv4 space like this, you create an illusion that IPv4 life can be extended.  Yet another excuse for companies that don't understand the true nature of the situation to sit back and go "Oh well, they will find a way, we will do nothing yet".  

To use a rather bizarre analogy, policies like this will leave us fighting over tiny scraps of food, while there is an entire turkey sitting in the freezer ready to be cooked and eaten.  The rest of the world will have finished their scraps long before we finished ours, and they will have cooked their nice fresh turkey and be enjoying it, because of necessity, while we continue the illusion that our scraps will last forever.

Maybe my views stated here are a little extreme, but I really believe we need to stop looking at the past, stop trying to drag out the inevitable, stop creating false illusions of extending the life of IPv4, not risk the potential legal mess we could get into here, and get on with what we should be doing, making IPv6 the reality it should have been 5 years ago.


Andrew Alston
TENET - Chief Technology Officer
Phone: +27 21 763 7181

-----Original Message-----
From: Jackson Muthili [mailto:jacksonmuthi at]
Sent: Thu 2/10/2011 9:43 AM
To: Andrew Alston
Cc: sm+afrinic at; Alan Barrett; AfriNIC List
Subject: Re: [AfriNIC-rpd] Re: Proposal: Reclamation of allocated but unrouted IPv4 addresses.

> I have a major problem with this.  Legacy allocations were issued before the
> RIR's were ever created, and were not bound by the policies that govern the
> current RIR's.  As such, while the RIR's do control such services as the
> whois, I believe it would be extremely problematic to attempt to force
> impose policies on the holders such space.  This has been the subject of
> much discussion recently on the nanog lists as well.

If the community decides to extend policy to apply to legacy members,
this would not be a problem anymore. They can be made to sign an
afrinic contract by a certain date, beyond which - their addresses can
be revoked. Unfortunately, this sounds stern but with the situation we
are soon facing, IPv4 will be on great great demand especially when
afrinic pool is depleted.


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