British Telecom (BT) has started a trial of Carrier Grade NAT (CGN) for their “Option 1 Total Broadband” customers. Since the RIPE region has now fully exhausted their IPv4 free pool, these types of IP address sharing schemes just seem inevitable. At this point it seems though IPv4 addressing needs continue to grow faster than the deployments of native IPv6. Unfortunately, IPv6 is not backward compatible with IPv4 and IPv4 addresses will continue to be required for all Internet customers either natively or through some type of transition technology as long as the vast majority of the content they wish to reach remains IPv4 only.
Tony Hain has produced a new set of IPv4 runout projections for the ARIN region that show the region exhausting its supply of IPv4 addresses by August of 2013. This projection pulls the exhaustion date back from mid-2014.
The increased allocations, according to a number of comments at the ARIN meeting, appear to becoming from hosting companies, registered in the US, which are largely supplying services to end customers which are largely outside of the ARIN region.
CIADA has published an interesting set of graphs from some research which shows some correlation between a country’s governance and the reputation of its IP addresses.
The spring ARIN 31 meeting is fast approaching. The final meeting agenda has recently been published. There are also opportunities to participate remotely for those who are unable to make the meeting in person.
Here is my short commentary on the policy proposals being discussed at the meeting. In this blog entry, I’ve also attempted to make some predictions on the discussion and outcome…
Policy Summary: Changes the way utilization is determined for ISPs who return to ARIN for additional IPv6 allocations.
Issues: Since the initial IPv6 policy was implemented, it has been understood that the IPv6 policy would need to be modified as implementation experience was gained. Since the idea of hierarchy is important in IPv6 networks, this policy allows a network’s regions which grow at different speeds to retain the hierarchy structure and still allow fast growing regions to obtain the needed additional IPv6 address space. Since the draft policy’s introduction there was strong consensus that the existing policy needed to change, the challenge has always been the details of policy text.
Prediction: This policy will finally reach consensus at this meeting and will be sent to last-call for approval.
Policy Summary: Allows organizations to request to transfer an autonomous system number (ASN) from one RIR to another.
Issues: ARIN recently adopted policies which both allow the directed transfer of IPv4 between regions and also allowed the directed transfer of ASNs within the ARIN region. This policy extends this trend to allow ASNs to transfer between RIRs. Some stakeholders in general disagree with the idea of allowing IP resources to trade and will likely oppose this policy. On the other side are those who will argue that this policy is a logical extension of the existing policy to allow resources to be transferred to where they are needed.
Prediction: This policy will have signification discussion about the need for the policy and the role of inter-RIR relationships, but I suspect the final consensus at the meeting will be to proceed with the implementation of this draft policy.
Policy Summary: Allows organizations to use a lower utilization requirement for provisioning their 3GPP networks when requesting additional IP addresses.
Issues: Wireless operators have been using space beyond RFC 1918 (such as 22.214.171.124/8) to solve their addressing needs and now that this is becoming part of the “Internet” they need to move off of that space. With ARIN’s /8 inventory currently at approximately 2.5, I’m skeptical that any policy using global IPv4 unicast space can actually solve this problem. The policy text of this draft policy is also not complete at this time and if consensus is achieved on the concepts of the policy change this draft policy would have to return for discussion at another ARIN meeting.
Prediction: This policy will be abandoned by the AC following the meeting.
Policy Summary: Allows ISPs to request smaller than normal IPv6 address blocks or return larger IPv6 blocks to reduce their IPv6 holdings.
Issues: This draft policy addresses an issue where ISPs are being moved into a larger ARIN fee category under the new fee schedule and allows them to return address space to move to a smaller IPv6 fee category. There has been significant discussion on the PPML mailing list about this issue and at this point it seems unclear if this proposal will achieve consensus at the meeting. The primary argument against this policy is that this policy undermines the best current practices for IPv6 subnetting, the intended hierarchical addressing structure defined by the IETF in the IPv6 RFCs, and generous nature of intended IPv6 assignments to end-users. Some stakeholders will argue that ARIN’s fees shouldn’t be used as a force to dictate a network’s IPv6 architecture. Arguments for the policy are that some small ISPs don’t need and never will use the current minimum block size of a /32 or /36 and should be able to get a /48 which meets their network needs.
Prediction: This policy will be sent to last call by the AC following the meeting. (I suspect it is possible that the /48 option will be removed from the draft policy as part of the discussion)
The RIPE region has begun publishing information on the IPv4 transfers which have occurred under the directed transfer policies. This change in published statistics was brought about through the implementation of RIPE policy 2012-5.
A list of the transferred blocks can be found here: RIPE: IPv4 Transfer Statistics
Back in December, I wrote a short post during the middle of the WCIT-12 in Dubai. At that point, it was still unclear which way the final acts of the treaty negotiations were going to go. I had intended to write a follow up post shortly after the meeting finished, but various things got in the way and I kept collecting articles from about the outcome. The articles kept piling up and I delayed writing this post. It seems now that most of the commentary about the WCIT-12 has been written and the focus is now starting to shift to how the Internet Governance world moves forward.
In the end, it appears to me that the outcome was not really what most of the stakeholders wanted. The US and other western democracies walked away from the treaty after language was inserted into the treaty which appeared intended to bring Internet governance into the scope of the ITU-T. The USG also appears to have objected to the procedural methods of the final treaty text negotiation. The only thing that seems clear is that the various nation-states and other stakeholders around the world have different visions on how the Internet should be regulated and managed going forward.
Here is the rather large collection of articles and a few select quotes, with a number of differing viewpoints, I’ve collected over the past 2 months since the end of the meeting.
Talks on a proposed treaty governing international telecommunications collapsed in acrimony on Thursday when the United States rejected the agreement on the eve of its scheduled signing, citing an inability to resolve an impasse over the Internet.
While the proposed agreement was not set to take effect until 2015 and was not legally binding, Mr. Kramer insisted that the United States and its supporters had headed off a significant threat to the “open Internet.”
The United States has consistently maintained that the Internet should not have been mentioned in the proposed treaty, which dealt with technical matters like connecting international telephone calls, because doing so could lead to curbs on free speech and replace the existing, bottom-up form of Internet oversight with a government-led model.
I [Fadi Chehadé] used this opportunity to engage with the many delegations in Dubai in support of our remarkable multistakeholder model. I was pleased that we received public assurances from ITU Secretary General Dr. Hamadoun Touré that neither Internet resources nor ICANN would be the subject of the WCIT treaty. During the past fortnight there has been much debate on many issues – much discussion, argument and many long nights. In the end, however, we are pleased the final text of the International Telecommunications Regulations does NOT include reference to ICANN’s work.
Hamadoun Touré, the ITU Secretary-General, suggested it was ridiculous to exclude the internet when it comes to global communications policy.
“If the word internet was used frequently here in Dubai, it is simply a reflection of the reality of the modern world,” he said. “Telecommunication networks are not just used for making voice calls, so our two worlds are linked.”
The treaty was supported by 89 countries in the 193-member U.N. telecom union. About 55 did not vote, including about 20 Western nations and the United States. Other nations did not have representatives with enough rank to cast a vote.
The open Internet, available to people around the world without the permission of any government, was a great liberation. It was also too good to last. Authoritarian governments this month won the first battle to close off parts of the Internet.
At the just-concluded conference of the International Telecommunications Union in Dubai, the U.S. and its allies got outmaneuvered. The ITU conference was highly technical, which may be why the media outside of tech blogs paid little attention, but the result is noteworthy: A majority of the 193 United Nations member countries approved a treaty giving governments new powers to close off access to the Internet in their countries.
U.S. diplomats were shocked by the result, but they shouldn’t have been surprised. Authoritarian regimes, led by Russia and China, have long schemed to use the U.N. to claim control over today’s borderless Internet, whose open, decentralized architecture makes it hard for these countries to close their people off entirely. In the run-up to the conference, dozens of secret proposals by authoritarian governments were leaked online.
ITU head Hamadoun Touré, a Mali native trained in the Soviet Union, had assured that his agency operates by consensus, not by majority vote. He also pledged that the ITU had no interest beyond telecommunications to include the Internet. He kept neither promise.
There are a number of issues that were critical to the United States in these negotiations. Number one, recognized operating agencies versus operating agencies. The United States consistently sought to clarify that the treaty would not apply to internet service providers or governments or private network operators.
Number two, spam. The United States position remains that spam is a form of content and that regulating it inevitably opens the door to regulation of other forms of content, including political and cultural speech.
Number three, network security. The United States continues to believe that the ITRs are not a useful venue for addressing security issues and cannot accede to vague commitments that would have significant implications but few practical improvements on security.
Number four, internet governance. In several proposals, it was clear that some administrations were seeking to insert government control over internet governance, specifically internet naming and addressing functions. We continue to believe these issues can only be legitimately handled through multi-stakeholder organizations.
And finally, number five, the internet resolution. This document represented a direct extension of scope into the internet and of the ITU’s role therein despite earlier assertions from Secretary General Hamadoun Toure that the WCIT would not address internet issues.
This blog post asks you to discount both the happy talk coming from the ITU and the ridiculous claims from the US and its allies that the ITR revisions constituted an aggressive new push into Internet regulation by states. Below, we cut through the spin and explain how a phenomenon we will call ITU-phobia contributes to the polarization of Internet governance.
This much is clear: the real crux of the US-led objectors was not the substance of the ITRs. There are a few strident, increasingly strained attempts to find demons in the ITR language, and to come up with ever more outlandish scenarios regarding the potential for trouble in the future. But these scenarios, as we shall see, lack plausibility. In reality, rejectionism was fueled by the debate over Resolution #3 and the decision by the ITU to rely on voting rather than consensus.
Neither the content of this conference, nor its conduct during this critical final period, have met community expectations or satisfied public assurances given prior to the event.
Internet stakeholders around the world watched the WCIT preparations closely, and were hopeful, throughout those processes, of two things: that WCIT would have no bearing on the Internet, its governance or its content; and that the event would allow all voices to be heard. The ITU Secretary General himself made these assurances on multiple occasions, and reiterated them in his opening remarks to the conference.
Regrettably, expected WCIT discussions on traditional telecommunication issues were eclipsed by debates about Internet-related issues.
The US based its arguments and opposition to the final treaty on five key issues, namely: (i) a perceived risk of applying the treaty to Internet Service Providers, governments or private network operators, (ii) spam, (iii) network security, (iv) Internet governance, and (v) the extension of the scope of the ITRs to include the Internet. Although the US arguments are fervent and sound coherent, many of them on closer examination are found to have more holes than Swiss cheese. Indeed, much of the sanctimonious noise from the US is mainly about protecting its national interest, and not genuine multi-stakeholderism.
A lot of people invested tons of money and effort to characterize the ITU’s WCIT, which was organized to revise the 1988 International Telecommunication Regulations, as an attempt to regulate or “take over” the Internet. That Godzilla-sized threat quickly shriveled to the size of a small, squashable bug in December, as the US and its supporters got the ITU to accept almost every U.S. demand to keep the telecom regulations away from the Internet. As noted in a earlier blog post here, the revised ITRs not only do not “take over” the Internet, they say nothing about the Internet at all. And still, the US and 54 allies refused to sign it, because they objected to a nonbinding resolution which allowed the ITU to keep discussing Internet governance.
Recent ITU-sponsored processes, such as the revision of the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) at the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12), have stimulated much debate about the manner in which telecommunications policies, particularly international frameworks for telecommunications policies, are formulated. One view is to use our existing institutions and forums to consider such matters, and use traditional representation-based mechanisms to bring various national perspectives into an international context of policy formulation. Another perspective that has come to prominence in recent years is to use a framework of direct participation in policy formulation, and directly involve the various stakeholders in the process of formulating common policies.
ARIN has posted a set of letters and links in response to a letter from the general counsel of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) that was circulated widely on the Internet in the fall of 2012. This letter was previously written about in a blog entry here and the on Internet Governance Project website.
John Curran, the CEO of ARIN, wrote a letter to the general counsel of the NSF in response to the leaked private letter. In the letter, Mr. Curran requested that the NSF revoke its previous letter or clarify the early IP address assignment context of the letter. The letter also goes on the state ARIN’s case for why it believes it should be the registry of record for these legacy IP resource records and why they should be subject to the same community driven stakeholder policy process as IP address assignments made today by the RIRs.
In a letter, dated November 7th, 2012, the general counsel of the NSF responded to Mr. Curran’s letter and stepped back from some of the statements made previously in the earlier private letter. Specifically noting that the NSF does not speak for the USG on the issue of Internet governance, the NTIA is the appropriate government agency to represent the USG in this area, and that the previous letter was a private letter observation on the NSF’s historical role in the development of the Internet.
This response now seems to erode the idea, that some members of the Internet community have posited, the NSF letter endorsed that legacy IP address assignments should be treated more like property rather than a resource licensed for a specific use.
ARIN’s website on their legacy address information page also now notes the following:
On December 3, 2012, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) formally commented on the USG’s Internet protocol numbering principles, including that it recognizes ARIN as the RIR for this region. This NTIA guidance is a clear response to the issues raised by an earlier letter from National Science Foundation General Counsel (NSF GC).
NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling posted a blog entry on the US Department of Commerce’s NTIA website clarifying the NTIA’s approach to IP addressing in the US. In the blog entry, Mr. Strickling specifically notes that the USG supports the existing multistakeholder model for development of Internet technical standards and processes, that the RIRs “are responsible for developing policies for the use of IP numbers within their respective specific geographic regions,” ARIN is the RIR for the United States, and that the “USG believes that all IP numbers are allocated for use on a needs basis and should be returned to the numbering pool when no longer needed.”
For those, who still believe that legacy IP addresses should be outside of existing RIR framework and not subject the the needs based policies which have been supported by the Internet community for more than a decade, this series of events only appears to further strengthen the case that the legacy IP address assignments should fall under ARIN’s role as the registry of record and that the USG appears prepared to defend that position in the United States.
Geoff Huston has published his annual look at IP address allocation and assignment statistics.
Plenty of numbers in the report to take a look at… Notably, we saw ARIN’s 2012 (45 million) allocation rate increase back to its 2010 rate after falling dramatically in 2011 (23.5 million). RIPE allocated its last IPv4 blocks under its “regular” allocation scheme in mid-September 2012 and moved into the IPv4 exhaustion phase of allocations. In the RIPE region, there wasn’t an apparent “run-on-the-bank” increase in the allocation rate as the registry moved into the exhaustion phase.
Here Geoff’s updated RIR Address Exhaustion Model shows ARIN moving into the exhaustion phase in mid-2014 with LACNIC in late 2014. AFRINIC’s trend-line currently points to an exhaustion point 9 years from January 2013.
Another interesting statistic found in the report is that the total number of smart phones and tablets purchased during 2012 amounts to almost 779 million units. If each of those devices used a native IPv4 address that would use up 21% of the total IPv4 address space.
Geoff finishes the report with a somewhat pessimistic outlook for the Internet industry.
We are witnessing an industry that is no longer using technical innovation, openness and diversification as its primary means of propulsion. The widespread use of NATs limit the technical substrate of the Internet to a very restricted model of simple client/server interactions using TCP and UDP. The use of NATs force the interactions into client-initiated transactions, and the model of an open network with considerable flexibility in the way in which communications took place is no longer being sustained. Today’s internet is serviced by a far smaller number of very large players, each of whom appear to be assuming a very strong position within their respective markets. The drivers for such larger players tend towards risk aversion, conservatism and increased levels of control across their scope of operation. The same trends of market aggregation are now appearing in content provision, where a small number of content providers are exerting a dominant position across the entire Internet.
This changing makeup of the Internet industry has quite profound implications in terms of network neutrality, the separation of functions of carriage and service provision, investment profiles and expectations of risk and returns on infrastructure investments, and on the openness of the Internet itself.
Iljitsch van Beijnum has recently published an update on IPv6 adoption: IPv6 takes one step forward, IPv4 two steps back in 2012.
The second page of his article mentions the economics of IPv6 deployment as reason for the slow deployment of IPv6.
Apparently, the economics of moving to IPv6 before we absolutely, positively had to without delay weren’t there. As with all technology, IPv6 gets better and cheaper over time. And just like with houses, people prefer waiting rather than buying when prices are dropping. To make matters worse, if you’re the only one adopting IPv6, this buys you very little.
And the pain of the shrinking IPv4 supplies versus the pain of having to upgrade equipment and software varies for different groups of Internet users.
All this means that organizations that are experiencing a lack of sufficient IPv4 addresses will have to address that problem in some other way: by having multiple users share a single IPv4 address through Network Address Translation (NAT).
This echos my thoughts on the matter when I wrote about them extensively in 2011. Use of IPv4 NAT as a substitute for moving to IPv6 was one of the concerns that I and others have raised which could delay or deter IPv6 adoption.
A positive note on IPv6 deployment since 2011: It does seem that IPv6 has been adopted permanently by a number of the large content providers, so at least one side of the transaction is there. Further deployment of IPv6, in my opinion, now depends on the large cable and broadband providers. Only when millions of those subscribers are converted to be IPv6 enabled will we see significant uptake in IPv6 traffic.
Lee Howard of Time Warner noted last year at the IETF 84 that just getting to 1% of current broadband subscribers is a significant effort. At NANOG 56, Lee also noted that the economics of IPv4 xfers vs. carrier-grade NAT vs. IPv6 aren’t as simple as they might seem.
The New York Times has just posted a through update on the proceedings of the ITU-T’s World Conference on Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai.
Other related articles:
Updated 12/10/2012 with additional links