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It is a well-known fact that there is a shortage of IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) addresses worldwide. Efforts are on to make more IPv4 addresses available for those who are in need. Since the 1980s, there have been literally millions of addresses that were either invalid, reserved, or being used for loopback networks.
Keeping in mind the pressing need to free IPv4 addresses, there have been efforts to free these addresses.
The background and present efforts
During the 1980s, certain decisions were made to reserve or keep
certain IPv4 addresses as special. These addresses have become unroutable and
cannot be used. The addresses are going to waste since they can be used by
people who are in need of IPv4 addresses.
The exact number of addresses that would be freed up is astounding! The number is 419 million. Yes, this is a huge number and all these addresses can be freed up, making them available for use. Doing so will help to ease the shortage of IPv4 addresses that is being faced globally.
The solution to this problem is to use the ranges like 240/4, 0/8, 128/8, and the address ranges from 225/8 to 232/8. When these ranges can be freed up, it would lead to the release of 419 million IPv4 addresses.
The work on hand
This information was revealed by Seth Schoen. He is the co-founder of Let’s Encrypt, a company that provides digital security certificates. He is among those who are putting in an effort to free IPv4 addresses. He has been working on a project to clean up IPv4 addresses. The aim of this project is to identify and free up addresses that are not being routed and can be made usable.
Schoen spoke about his effort at APRICOT – the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies. He was addressing the conference while presenting on the IPv4 Unicast Extensions Project.
He spoke about how the decision to block addresses was taken and the reasons for the same have not borne fruit now. He revealed how these decisions have proven to be costly. Numbering resources have been wasted over the past few decades, which have contributed to the present shortage.
The way forward
Schoen spoke about the design mistake that led to 0 being assigned
as the network broadcast address. This is a key reason for the current scarcity
that has led to hoarding. This has resulted in increased prices, and has also
led to incidents of fraud.
Schoen has given the example of the 4.2 Berkeley Software Distribution UNIX operating system. The OS has been retired and no new OS has been made over the past 30 years. This restriction can be removed. The localhost loopback interface has the /8 block of 16.7 million IPv4 addresses that have been reserved. If it is changed to /16, then millions of addresses can be freed.
Doing this offers benefits but calls for making software changes in the network stacks. This has already started and work is on to maximize compatibility, so network operators can use them.
With these new efforts, millions of IPv4 addresses can be released. This would reduce the pressure on existing providers who are struggling to meet customer demands. If you are looking for IPv4 addresses, you can get in touch with a reputed IPv4 Broker like Prefixx. With their experience in facilitating transfers of IPv4 addresses, they can cater to all your IPv4 needs.
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