IPv6Let’s start with the good news. NetSource fully supports IPv6 routing within its backbone network. Customers are using IPv6 addresses now and any customer that needs to route IPv6, can. And you will get a /64 IPv6 range, which is 4 billion times 4 billion IP addresses just for you! And there is no charge for IPv6 addresses until further notice.

Now, the bad news. IPv4 addresses are running out and as you can imagine are very difficult and expensive to get now. So, all customers need to plan for Ipv6 as soon as possible, the sooner the better. Actually, you will need to support both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses at the same time, at least for awhile.

Why the urgency, you ask? The answer is simple. The American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN), which assigns and allocates IP addresses, has all but run out of IPv4 addresses. It won’t be long before you won’t be able to get any more IPv4 addresses. No kidding, they are really almost completely out and ARIN estimates they will run out by the end of 2015, or possibly, even by the end of this summer.

Here are some facts about IPv4.

  • ARIN is in phase 4 of managing IPv4 address depletion, the last phase. When phase 4 is over, there will be no more IPv4 addresses left. It’s already gone through phases one through three.
  • ARIN entered phase 4 when they only had one /8 IP range left, late in 2014.
  • ARIN currently has 0.4% of /8 of IPs available today. This is a tiny tiny amount to support North America.
  • ARIN doesn’t have any contiguous IPv4 blocks greater than a class C (/24) to allocate, currently. That is the smallest block of addresses that will even route over the Internet! So, if you, or we, make a request from ARIN, the largest block you get is a class C (/24). If you want more, you get on a waiting list. My guess is you will wait forever.
  • ICANN has released all the IP space it had in reserve to the regional authorities, like ARIN.
  • Even if you try to purchase IPv4 space on the open market from a third party, ARIN still controls the transfers and will only allow the transfer of IP space they approve. Don’t do it. You will pay the third party and then may not get the allocation anyway. The waters are too treacherous to do this alone. Proceed with extreme caution!
  • NetSource has some IPv4 space in reserve, but, see below for how these will be allocated.
  • NetSource can get IPv4 space for you, as long as they last, with a signed customer contract that demonstrates a need justified by verifiable facts (ARIN’s rules, not ours). There could be a delay in getting them, could be a month or more. So, plan ahead.

These are dire facts when it comes to getting more IPv4 addresses.

What is likely to happen? A disclaimer, here, this is my own opinion. When IPv4 addresses finally run out, you will be forced to use IPv6 addresses only. So, what is so bad about that? Well, it creates two separate Internets, one that speaks IPv4 and one that speaks IPv6. It is not possible for a network packet using IPv4 addresses to reach an IPv6 destination and visa versa. As more and more people begin using IPv6 addresses, those that use only IPv4 will be left out of the Internet. The world can’t let that happen. Predictions are dangerous, but, let me be bold and predict an exponential increase in the use of IPv6 and the similar exponential decrease in IPv4. This should occur just when the IPv4 space runs out. No one can predict exactly when that will happen but it could be sooner than you think. Don’t wait until the last minute!

So what is NetSource doing about it? We are getting ready for the final transition to IPv6.

First, NetSource has IPv4 space, but, we will use it only to facilitate the transition to IPv6. This means that if you want more IPv4 addresses, we will also give you an IPv6 range as well. Right now, we will only enforce this for requests larger than /29. All customers should start using IPv6 addresses. Plan ahead.

Second, NetSource will work with you on getting essential IPv4 space when you need it. This may mean purchasing it from a third party and working the transfer of ownership through ARIN over to NetSource, as long as they are available. Be prepared for this to take some time, maybe over a month. Also, be prepared to pay the price to acquire these IPs. If you have your own portable IPv4 space, we will route it for you.

Lastly, NetSource will be working with customers to reclaim unused IP addresses. Please be a good Internet citizen and work with our team when they contact you.

What should you do? Start planning if you haven’t already! The first thing for you to check is whether your equipment will support IPv6. If so, all you need to do is get an IPv6 allocation from NetSource and assign it to your equipment. You should be able to do all this without any disruption to your network. If not, then you will first need to upgrade your equipment.

NetSource will be available to help customers get IPv6 space and make the transition. You should plan on assigning both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses to your equipment going forward, as long as IPv4 lasts. Eventually, IPv4 addresses will be obsolete so start your planning today and don’t wait until you have an emergency on your hands.