The Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) doled out nearly a record 27 million IPv4 addresses during the first three months of 2010.
According to the official representative of the five regional bodies that oversee distribution of Internet number resources — the Number Resource Organization (NRO) – the surge in demand for addresses was due to the popularity in mobile phones, laptops, servers, routers, and other devices in the region.
This means the decline of IPv4 addresses has quickened with additional allocations in the second quarter taking the remaining amount to 7.8 per cent.
When IPv4 addresses run out, which is expected to occur some time in 2011 or 2012, the industry must migrate to the next generation Internet Protocol, IPv6.
This replacement protocol uses a 128-bit addressing scheme that will provide billions and billions of IP addresses. IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support about 4 billion IP addresses.
Although service providers will still be able to get IPv4 addresses once the free allocations handed out by the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) are exhausted they will have to obtain them from existing owners.
APNIC chief scientist, Geoff Huston, has previously warned the cost of buying IPv4 addresses in a market where scarcity dominates could be steep and that this may be passed onto consumers, in effect increasing the cost of access to the Internet.
Although the evaporation of IPv4 addresses is approaching, the NRO has said across the globe the Internet industry is not yet prepared. APNIC and its associated bodies have lobbied the ICT industry, government and supply chains to ramp up the move to IPv6 for some time. ISPs, however, have been reluctant to make the move because of weak demand from consumers and little effort from vendors to bring IPv6 enabled products to market. At the start of April, Internode said it will offer production IPv6 services to consumers by the end of 2010 as it continues to gain experience through a trial of the next generation Internet Protocol.
The ISP began trialling IPv6 services in native mode on its national ADSL network last November.
But the ISP has been somewhat of a loner in the IPv6 space, with many other ISPs telling Computerworld last year they have no intention of running IPv6 trials in the short term.
Globally, however, there is ample support for early IPv6 adoption coming from Web giants Google and Yahoo, and with the news one of the US’ largest ISPs, Comcast, is running v6 trials, some industry representatives such as APNIC are hopeful 2010 will be a watershed year.