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[AFRINIC-rpd] IPv4 Address Allocation and Assignment proposal

Andrew Alston alston.networks at
Thu Jan 24 12:21:34 UTC 2013

Hi Sunday,

See comments inline.  These are based on my understanding of what is in SM's
policy and my reading of it.  

  1. a consumer requesting for PI space from the RIR must be multi-homed.
True or false?

No - There are multiple reasons why a client might need PI space outside of
multi-homing.  Any large institution SHOULD in my  opinion be on PI space,
as using LIR space locks them to a particular provider.  It makes migrating
from one provider to another extremely difficult, and many large
organizations would prefer not to lock themselves into a specific ISP.  This
also creates business risk, if your ISP goes bust and you are on space
provided by them, you are forced into a renumbering exercise when you are
forced to change providers.  This isn't sensible.   However, under the new
proposal, NO ONE will be able to get PI space directly from the RIR.

  2. Request for PI space must be made direct to the RIR not through an LIR.
True or False?

That is the current status quo, under SM's policy this changes, requests for
PI space will be directed through an LIR... and this is one of the MAJOR
points of concern I have with the new policy

  3. PA space must always be obtained from an LIR, not the RIR. True or

That is the current status quo and is maintained in the new policy, it's
also globally accepted practice and I have no issues with it.

  4. An LIR must be an ISP? True or False?

This is unclear, though my reading of the policy as proposed by SM would
make this the case.

  5. What additional demands do ISPs place on the RIR, which LIRs do not?

None that I can see - LIR/ISP in  this context are synonymous with each

  6. Why is PI space sooo cheap globally, compared to PA Space?

This is a complicated question, but my belief is this.  Firstly, LIR's have
the option to recover costs from their clients who they are assigning to,
and in many cases, LIR's treat IP's as profit centres and not cost recovery
when doing assignments.  End Users however do not really have the option to
"recover" cost, it is merely a cost of doing business.  This changes the
model.  This also explains why LIR's pay higher initial fees and lower
annual fees, whereas LIR's who are in effect sub-leasing space can recover
space costs from client subscriptions.   This is my opinion on this though,
but I suspect there are other reasons.

  7. Apart from the Research and Education, what other sector needs PI
space, who cannot pay for the mass of IP addresses required, just like ISPs?

Any NPO who needs PI space could have similar financial constraints.  Since
any organization that multi-homes (or has PI space for other reasons) may
face constraints like these.  Keep in mind, an individual person who is
multi-homed could be using PI space when it's not even a large company (and
I know of several private individuals who are multi-homed at home who do
this, particularly consultants who rely on their connectivity that they need
backup, and at the same time have need for static ip addressing)

  8. Beyond aggregating, what else is done to PA space that is not done to
PI space?

When LIRs assign space to a downstream they are required to register who it
is assigned to with AfriNIC, so while the space itself is aggregated in BGP
announcements, the registration of who has what space is the reverse, it is
deaggregated and split up and constantly updated in the database.

  9. Am I the only one needing these answers?

No idea :) We shall see!



On 24/01/2013 10:29, Andrew Alston wrote:
> You aren't alone :)
> Andrew
> -----Original Message-----
> From: rpd-bounces at [mailto:rpd-bounces at] On 
> Behalf Of Guy Antony Halse
> Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2013 11:09 AM
> To: sm+afrinic at
> Cc: rpd at
> Subject: Re: [AFRINIC-rpd] IPv4 Address Allocation and Assignment 
> proposal
> Hi
> On Wed 2013-01-23 (06:57), sm+afrinic at wrote:
>> How about:
>> An end site is an entity which does not make sub-allocations, 
>> allocations, or re-assignments, and which uses any IP address space 
>> assigned to it either within the entity or as part of its internal
> operations.
> The problem with this, as with other drafts, is that it assumes that 
> the distinction between end user/end site and LIR is *completely* 
> black and white.
> Consider the following hypothetical situation:
> I run the internal network for a large, for-profit company.  We want 
> to dual home, so we apply for PI address space.  At this stage we meet 
> the above definition, and thus we apply as an "end site".  We have two 
> ISPs, and everything is great.
> Some time later, perhaps as part of a corporate social responsibility 
> programme, we lease a small NGO a single office in our building.  
> Although I use the word "lease" (because an agreement exists, and they 
> are a separate legal entity), no money exchanges hands.  We do it 
> because it is the right
> thing(tm) to do.
> The NGO then asks if we could possible give them Internet access.  We 
> decide that because the impact will be minimal on our operations, we 
> can do so.  We allocate them a subnet from our network, and use this 
> to provide them with Internet access free of charge.  Again it is the
right thing(tm) to do.
> They use less than 1% of our assigned address space, and virtually no 
> bandwidth.
> At this stage we technically no longer meet the definition above; we 
> are now technically an LIR because the the space is not used 
> internally any more and because we've made a single, very small
> Assuming we're honest about it, in terms of AfriNIC's cost structures 
> and this policy, things change:
>   - 8.5 requires I register the allocation with AfriNIC;
>   - I am now subject to the requirements of sections 8 through 10;
>   - The fees due to AfriNIC increase (outside the scope of this policy,
>     relevant to the discussion).
> Our management decides that the additional cost and administrative 
> burden this imposes it too onerous and cannot be justified.  It was 
> fine when we were just running a UTP cable through the wall, but now 
> we have to complete paperwork and spend (recurring) money.  Thus we have
two choices:
>   a) lie (perhaps tacitly, by simply not telling) to AfriNIC.  This
>      the risk we'll be caught, and lose our assignment (per 6.1); or
>   b) cease providing the NGO with Internet access.
> Neither of these are desirable outcomes.
> Back in the real world we live in, I don't think that the above 
> example is that uncommon.  I can think of several (real) examples in 
> South Africa, and I'm sure there are others elsewhere in Africa.  
> Africa is not like Europe or the Americas -- Internet access still 
> isn't easy to get, particularly if you're a small organisation with 
> limited financial resources (viz an NGO or government-funded school).
> IMHO seeing this problem as completely black & white helps perpetuate 
> a growing digital divide.  In Africa, where Internet penetration is 
> low, policies should /facilitate/ things like the above rather than 
> preclude them; they should allow large corporate (and universities!) 
> to help those who otherwise would not have access to the Internet.
> Thus I'm really opposed to any definition of "end user" or "end site" 
> that doesn't allow /some/ flexibility for the grey areas.  I'm happy 
> if this flexibility is formally qualified in policy -- appropriate 
> restrictions include limitations on the amount of address space ("no 
> more than 10%"), they type of organisation or relationship 
> ("not-for-profit"), or whether or not this is how I make money or why I
exist ("core business").
> If I'm alone in thinking this is a problem, let me know and I'll shut 
> up about it ;-).
> - Guy
> --
> Manager: Systems, IT Division, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South
> Email: G.Halse at   Web:   IRC:
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Sunday Adekunle Folayan
    email: sfolayan at, sfolayan at
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