GCXC Local Internet Registry :: RIPE NCC News


The RIPE NCC has run out of IPv4 Addresses

Today, at 15:35 (UTC+1) on 25 November 2019, we made our final /22 IPv4 allocation from the last remaining addresses in our available pool. We have now run out of IPv4 addresses.

Our announcement will not come as a surprise for network operators - IPv4 run-out has long been anticipated and planned for by the RIPE community. In fact, it is due to the community's responsible stewardship of these resources that we have been able to provide many thousands of new networks in our service region with /22 allocations after we reached our last /8 in 2012.

Recovered IPv4 Addresses and the Waiting List

Even though we have run out, we will continue to recover IPv4 addresses in the future. These will come from organisations that have gone out of business or are closed, or from networks that return addresses they no longer need. These addresses will be allocated to our members (LIRs) according to their position on a new waiting list that is now active.

While we therefore expect to be allocating IPv4 for some time, these small amounts will not come close to the many millions of addresses that networks in our region need today. Only LIRs that have never received an IPv4 allocation from the RIPE NCC (of any size) may request addresses from the waiting list, and they are only eligible to receive a single /24 allocation.

LIRs that have submitted an IPv4 request can see their position on the waiting list in the LIR Portal. A new graph has also been published that shows the number of requests on the waiting list and the number of days that the LIR at the front of the queue has been waiting.

Call for Greater Progress on IPv6

This event is another step on the path towards global exhaustion of the remaining IPv4 addressing space. In recent years, we have seen the emergence of an IPv4 transfer market and greater use of Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT) in our region. There are costs and trade-offs with both approaches and neither one solves the underlying problem, which is that there are not enough IPv4 addresses for everyone.

Without wide-scale IPv6 deployment, we risk heading into a future where the growth of our Internet is unnecessarily limited - not by a lack of skilled network engineers, technical equipment or investment - but by a shortage of unique network identifiers. There is still a long way to go, and we call on all stakeholders to play their role in supporting the IPv6 roll-out.

At the RIPE NCC, we are here to support our membership and the wider RIPE community in this work. Aside from allocating the IPv6 resources that will be required, we will continue to provide advice, training, measurements and tools to help network operators as they put their deployment plans into action.

We are optimistic and excited to see what the next chapter will bring. So let's get to work - and together, let's shape the future of the Internet.

Publication date: 25 Nov 2019

Update: Approaching IPv4 Run-out

Today we allocated the last of our contiguous /22 IPv4 address blocks. We still have approximately one million addresses available, in the form of /23s and /24s, and we will continue making /22-equivalent allocations made up of these smaller blocks. Once we can no longer allocate the equivalent of a /22, we will announce that we have reached run-out. We expect this to occur in November 2019.

Following our last update in August, we received a very high number of new LIR applications. We have now reached a point where the number of LIRs waiting to be activated is larger than the number of /22-equivalents remaining. This means that some of these LIRs will only be eligible to request a /24 via the waiting list by the time they are activated. We alerted these applicants to this possibility during the application process.

Due to the number of new LIR applications still to be processed, we estimate that it could be around eight weeks before we get to an application that is submitted today. To ensure fairness, we are processing all LIR applications (and IPv4 requests) in the order they were received.

It is important to note that the delay is only with LIR applications - not IPv4 requests. Existing members can still request their final /22 allocations, provided we still have addresses available.

Publication date: 02 Oct 2019

Getting Ready for IPv4 Run-out

We expect to run out of IPv4 addresses sometime in late 2019. It is therefore important that our members know what they can expect from us. This section describes our processes as we approach run-out and explains what will happen afterwards.

IPv4 run-out is not coming as a surprise – this has long been anticipated and planned for by the technical community. Nevertheless, all stakeholders should be aware of the likely impacts run-out will have on individual networks and the wider Internet. Everyone has a part to play in supporting the deployment of IPv6, which is the best long-term solution to the problems created by IPv4 exhaustion.

After Run-out

  • The allocation size will change from a /22 to a /24 (1,024 -> 256 addresses)
  • We will continue to recover a small amount of IPv4 addresses for the foreseeable future
  • All new IPv4 requests will be added to a new waiting list to receive a /24 allocation of recovered addresses on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Only LIRs that have never received an IPv4 allocation from the RIPE NCC will be eligible to join the waiting list
  • The Current Situation

    We publish weekly statistics that show the number of IPv4 addresses in our pool. As long as we still have addresses remaining, RIPE NCC members (LIRs) can each receive one final allocation from us. These are limited to 1,024 addresses which will be issued as one /22 prefix or a number of smaller prefixes. Once an LIR has received its final allocation, it cannot receive any more IPv4 addresses from the RIPE NCC.

    We exhausted our supply of “new” IPv4 addresses in 2018. Since then we have been allocating recovered addresses that were used on other networks. These addresses were returned once they were no longer needed or reclaimed when a member went bankrupt or was closed. Before we re-allocate these addresses, we take a number of steps which help to establish that they are no longer associated with their previous holder.

    We are currently allocating single contiguous /22 IPv4 blocks to our members. However, we also have a number of smaller /23 and /24 blocks in our pool (512 and 256 addresses respectively). When we run out of /22s, we will start making equivalent-sized allocations from these smaller blocks. And once we can no longer allocate a /22 or a /22-equivalent, we will announce that we have reached IPv4 run-out.

    The table below shows these steps as we reach IPv4 run-out:

    When Date How IPv4 Requests Are Processed

    When we have less than one
    /8 block of IPv4 addresses
    Each LIR can receive one /22
    IPv4 allocation in the form of
    a single prefix

    Once we have no more
    /22 prefixes
    Each LIR can receive one /22 IPv4 allocation
    in the form of multiple smaller prefixes (/23s and/or /24s)

    Once all available IPv4
    address space is exhausted
    LIRs can enter a waiting list to receive one /24
    IPv4 allocation when addresses are returned in the future

    Created: 23 Aug 2019 - Last updated: 25 Nov 2019

    How Will The IPv4 Waiting List Work?

    We will continue to make a small number of /24 IPv4 allocations after run-out, using a waiting list system that will work on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Even though we will soon run out of IPv4, we will continue to recover small amounts of addresses for some time afterwards. These are addresses that have been de-registered when members go out of business or are closed down, or that members have chosen to return. The RIPE community has agreed that the best approach is to allocate any recovered addresses to members via a waiting list, using a smaller /24 allocation size (256 addresses). You can find more information in the IPv4 Policy.

    Who Can Join the Waiting List?

    In order to receive an IPv4 allocation from the waiting list, the following criteria apply:

  • You must have completed the process to become a RIPE NCC member (LIR)
  • The LIR requesting addresses must not have received an IPv4 allocation from the RIPE NCC previously (including via the waiting list)
  • The allocation must be used to make assignments
  • The address space must be used on a network with at least one active element in the RIPE NCC service region
  • How Will It Work?

  • The waiting list becomes active when we run out of IPv4 addresses
  • All allocations made via the waiting list will be a /24 (256 addresses)
  • Only one allocation per LIR account can be received through the waiting list, on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Once we have no more IPv4 to meet requests, we will add any further requests we receive to the waiting list (as /24 allocation requests) and notify the members
  • Any requests received after we reach IPv4 run-out will go directly to the waiting list
  • We will publish statistics on our website, including the number of LIRs on the waiting list
  • Members will be able to check their place in the queue via the LIR Portal

  • It is important that members understand they will only receive an IPv4 allocation via the waiting list “if and when” we have enough addresses. This could take a very long time, depending on the number of addresses that come back to us and the number of members on the waiting list.

    How Does the RIPE NCC Handle Recovered IPv4 Addresses?

    When we recover IPv4 addresses, we hold on to them for a quarantine period. During this time, we take a number of actions that help to make it clear that the addresses are no longer associated with their previous holder and should be considered as “new” address space. Once a block of IPv4 addresses has finished this process, we will allocate it to members in the order that they entered the waiting list. It is impossible to predict how many addresses we will recover over the coming years – we do not expect that it will be many.

    Created: 23 Aug 2019 - Last updated: 17 Sep 2019