03 January 2009

Why IPv4 Addresses Are Like Oil

IPv4 addresses are an increasingly rare resource. But I'd not spotted the parallel with oil until this:

the US was still the largest user of new IPv4 addresses in 2008 with 50.08 million addresses used. China was a close second with 46.5 million new addresses last year, an increase of 34 percent.

Although China and Brazil saw huge increases in their address use, suggesting that the developing world is demanding a bigger part of the pie while IPv4 addresses last, what's really going on is more complex. India is still stuck in 18th place between the Netherlands and Sweden at 18.06 million addresses—only a tenth of what China has. And Canada, the UK, and France saw little or no increase in their numbers of addresses, while similar countries like Germany, Korea, and Italy saw double-digit percentage increases.

A possible explanation could be that the big player(s) in some countries are executing a "run on the bank" and trying to get IPv4 addresses while the getting is good, while those in other countries are working on more NAT (Network Address Translation) and other address conservation techniques in anticipation of the depletion of the IPv4 address reserves a few years from now.

In other words, the greediest countries - the US and China - are rushing to burn up all the oil while there's some left, and to hell with what happens afterwards....


Will Watts said...

I thought China was supposed to be the leader in IPv6

China launches largest IPv6 network

and therefore the least IPv4-dependent.

Btw, what does 'IPv6' represent in this analogy? Nuclear power? ;-)

glyn moody said...

Well, clearly China is aware of its dependence on IPv4/oil, and is investing heavily in IPv6/renewable energy.....