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The Internet Technology

Sales of Unused IPv4 Addresses Gaining Steam 329

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-em-before-they're-gone dept.
netbuzz writes "A growing number of U.S. carriers and enterprises are hedging their bets on IPv6 by purchasing blocks of unused IPv4 addresses through official channels or behind-the-scenes deals. There is certainly no shortage of stock, as these address brokers have blocks available that range from 65,000 to more than a million IPv4 addresses. And it's not just large companies and institutions benefiting, as one attorney who's involved in the market says he represents a woman who came into possession of a block of IPv4 address in the early '90s and now, 'She's in her 70s, and she's going to have a windfall.''"
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Sales of Unused IPv4 Addresses Gaining Steam

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 24, 2012 @12:30PM (#40100647) Journal
    A bust has been made in the digital district of NYC. Agent Friedeggs and his partner, Copbot 4X, have a perp handcuffed in the backseat of their cruiser that is now being piloted by Google's driving software to take him back to the precinct where he'll be booked.

    They approach the criminal's ancient Cadillac CTS and open the trunk. Inside is a briefcase packed with millions of little strips of white paper, each bearing an IPv4 address. Copbot 4X applies a small strip of multipurpose adhesive to his index finger with his mouth and reaches down to snag one of the strips. As he feeds it into his mouth and the ping trace times out he emits a satisfied Artoo Detoo whistle. "It's pure," he confirms as Friedeggs nods satisfactorily.

    "You know, I think we're finally gonna catch these bastards. These addresses belong on display in the Guggenheim, not ... " He cuts himself off as a warning light goes off on Copbot's torso. "Jesus H. Tesla, they've hacked the GPS signal to our car!" Copbot morphs into a go a cart as Agent Friedeggs draws his Taser and slides across its hood. Cheesy synth horns flair up over wakka guitars as their silent electric motor spins them off down the street.
    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      I imagined this whole thing as part of an episode of Futurama.

  • class a blocks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sdnoob (917382) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @12:39PM (#40100711)

    ford could've averted their recent financial woes by auctioning off their 16 million ip addresses http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-19-0-0-0-1 [arin.net]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I will never sell my ip address for any amount of money! It's 127.0.0.1!
    It follows me where ever I go - it's very valuable, too.

  • by ACK!! (10229) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @12:39PM (#40100721) Journal
    It seems that we have been running out of addresses for 10 years or something and everyone has been talking about moving to IPv6 since the late ninteties ? I am sure there is a limited range of numbers and the issue is real but also seems like fodder for sensationalist tech journal articles.
    • Yes and no - we have been running out, but we also haven't been sitting idly by while that happens. Stuff like NAT has become far more common, which takes the pressure off for a little while. It's not too different from the whole oil crisis - we have a limited amount, but new technologies and recycling techniques can extend the date where it's finally completely exhausted.

    • by Dan East (318230) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @12:45PM (#40100779) Homepage Journal

      That's nothing. Wait until you see what happens when the clock rolls around on midnight on Dec 31st, 1999.

    • by jandrese (485)
      Yes, we've seen this iceberg coming for well over a decade now and we're only just now starting to really turn the wheel. There is a lot of inertia across the board. The good news is that there has been a lot of behind the scenes work done, including getting IPv6 in most consumer and commercial devices. Old hardware is still a problem. Worse, on the Cisco and other large router vendor side, many of the earlier devices supported IPv6 in software only, meaning that it would work fine for a lab or network
    • Re:IPv4 forever? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by paulpach (798828) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @01:23PM (#40101163)

      It seems that we have been running out of addresses for 10 years or something and everyone has been talking about moving to IPv6 since the late ninteties ? I am sure there is a limited range of numbers and the issue is real but also seems like fodder for sensationalist tech journal articles.

      You are 100% correct. It was clear then and it is clear now how it will play out. All it takes is just a little analytic thinking: We will never run out of IPv4 addresses. Yes, you read it right: NEVER.

      What will happen is that as supply of IPv4 remains flat, and demand for it goes up, supply and demand laws kick in, and the price of an IPv4 address goes up. As prices go up, people sitting on unused addresses will start selling them, and people that need them will start buying them (This article is a good example). So the market will naturally redistribute IPv4 addresses from wasteful uses to more productive uses. This will also mean that there will ALWAYS be an IPv4 address for you to purchase if you want to pay the price, that is why I say we will never run out of IPv4 addresses.

      There will be a point, where cost of an IPv4 address will be greater than the cost of switching to IPv6. This threshold will start happening for a few sectors first. My guess is Business to Business applications and back office services first. At some point cell phones too since there are so many. At some point, ISP will start offering an IPv6 only plan with some backward compatible proxy which would be cheaper than IPv4 plan for consumers with limitations. Web sites will want to be optimized for these consumers, and will start offering their content in both protocols. This will make IPv6 switch less and less costly as more content is available for it. Once enough consumers are in IPv6, web sites will start ignoring IPv4 altogether to save the cost of an IPv4 address.

      Eventually, enough momentum will be gained by IPv6 that IPv4 will go the way of the typewriter, where it is available, but nobody cares.

      This will be a smooth transition, no crisis, no armagedon, just free market pushing the change slowly and efficiently. This process will take years. No one is or should be in a rush to switch or panic, just switch when it is cost effective to do so.

  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @12:45PM (#40100783)

    Sure, windfall now, but next month when IPv6 day [worldipv6day.org] comes and all the IPv6 sites stay lit, they'll be worth a rapidly diminishing amount.

    ArsTechnica has a nice piece about IPv6 [arstechnica.com] and why it's not going to be such a disaster thing after all, add to that the IPv6-capable [netgear.com] home [dlink.com] routers [cisco.eu] that are actually being made (at last!) and the ISPs who are rolling out IPv6 networking to their customers... and it's all looking rosy.

    • by alen (225700)

      IPv6 means unique IP's for everyone of your devices
      that means no need for NAT and your "real" IP will be visible on the internets
      marketers will love it since there will be no more need for cookies

      • by Dagger2 (1177377)
        Until they discover that Windows has privacy addresses turned on by default, which basically means that their address-based cookies are cleared every day.
        • You don't even need cookies at all if you just track their IP address

          • by Dagger2 (1177377)
            Yes, as I was saying, privacy addresses. What good does tracking the IP address do when they switch to a new IP every 24 hours?
            • Who is switching IP addresses? With IPv6, your ISP has no shortage, so they will just give you a permanent one.

              • by Ultra64 (318705)

                ah, so you have no clue how ipv6 works

              • by gbjbaanb (229885)

                you mistake what he's saying - IPv6 has a feature called "Privacy Extensions for Stateless Address Autoconfiguration in IPv6". [ietf.org]

                This means that your IPv6 address can be randomly generated within your address range handed out by the ISP so that it (to practical purposes) changes all the time. Here's a quick blog entry [wordpress.com] about it.

              • by bbn (172659)

                Fran - Windows uses a system called privacy extension which changes your address at regular intervals. This is done exactly to prevent tracking you by your address. You still have the option to use a static address but it is not the default.

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        How is it different w/ NAT, where the 'marketeers' would know the public IPv4 address and the private IPv4 address? Everytime a connection is initiated, the site being visited knows your address, or how else could it serve up its page on your node?
    • by unixisc (2429386)

      Sure, windfall now, but next month when IPv6 day [worldipv6day.org] comes and all the IPv6 sites stay lit, they'll be worth a rapidly diminishing amount.

      ArsTechnica has a nice piece about IPv6 [arstechnica.com] and why it's not going to be such a disaster thing after all, add to that the IPv6-capable [netgear.com] home [dlink.com] routers [cisco.eu] that are actually being made (at last!) and the ISPs who are rolling out IPv6 networking to their customers... and it's all looking rosy.

      The good thing about World IPv6 day this time is that it won't be turned off after a day.

      It's about time that IPv6 became widely available. This should start w/ ISPs, who can provide DS or DS-lite to customers still needing IPv4 access. Other than that, since they'll ultimately have to convert anyway, they should get the ball rolling.

      Other customers should do it whenever they plan equipment upgrades, so that this conversion accompanies such changes.

  • I almost picked up a class b in the early days but i knew i didn't 'need' it, so never did.

    Of course never thought this 'internet' thing would ever be of the slightest interest to the average guy..

    Doh/2

  • I'm of the opinion that Class A addresses were behind some of the large IT mergers. For example, DEC (16.0.0.0/8) was taken over by Compaq, who were later taken over by HP (15.0.0.0/8). So HP owns two adjacent Class A address spaces. That's got to be worth a pretty packet, and they don't really need 32 million addresses, do they?

    • When all the IP v4 addresses are gone they can raise the price to several hundred dollars per address. Not too bad on a $5 investment and I bet will save the company and boast the share price as a result.

      IBM has MANY IP addresses too. However, they bought them in the 1990s when they were much much bigger than today and had a half million employees.

  • Sure we should all move to IPv6, but does anyone else think that hoarding a scarce resource just makes it scarcer?

    Some of the early players were granted large swaths of IP space and they should return them if they are no longer needed.

    Once again, a few greedy players screw things up for everybody else.

  • Regulation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @01:12PM (#40101035) Journal

    I don't normally support regulation and I am not sure I'd vote for this idea if asked to myself but I want to put it out there anyway.

    What if we ban, that is right ban, the use ipv4 on publicly accessible networks after say 2018. Make it illegal to route ip4v addressed packet for a third party. This would force the move to ipv6. Which I think is good for freedom and the little guy. Yes that is right a forced migration is good for the little guy.

    Its big business that has interests in keeping everyone on IPv4 and its actually big business who have the bigger investment in ipv4 only gear. The little guy can afford migrate.

    What this is really about is ipv4 implies NAT. NAT implies third party brokers, which imply track ability, and opportunities to create digital toll booths. You can't just send files directly to each other; oh no they have be posted to some file sharing site so they can show you adds and the NSA has a good opportunity to data mine.

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      That's a bit draconian. And probably unenforceable. And probably unconstitutional, come to think of it.

      A more tolerable way would be "lead by example": pass a law saying all government networks must be IPv6 (both internally, and externally) by 2018, and that any networking and computing equipment purchased with taxpayer dollars after 2014 must be fully IPv6-capable (possibly with an exception for NSA et al. to buy completely non-TCP/IP stuff, if that's a thing they do). I know they already have some require

      • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
        It is hard for me to see why it would be unconstitutional. Fits within the Commerce Clause. Remember, as far as laws are concerned, stupid doesn't mean unconstitutional.
    • More simple than that. There's profit in scarcity. Eventually home accounts will be NATed by default. If you currently have a public IP, you may wake up one morning to find out otherwise (while troubleshooting your home router in frustration). If you want a public dynamic IP, you will have to pay extra for that. If you want a static public IP, that's an additional cost on top of that. The day of double NAT or being stuck with using your ISPs router/switch will be the "new normal". Get used to it.

      And don't t

  • I mean, why is Valve giving IPv4 so much more steam? Is this a sale thing or something like that?

  • The key to IPv6 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kohath (38547) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @01:18PM (#40101101)

    This is the key to transitioning to IPv6. People will transition to IPv6 as costs increase for IPv4. When transitioning to IPv6 is cheaper than buying IPv4 addresses, the change will come quickly.

    Hopefully people will observe this and learn how change happens. It doesn't happen because you wish it would. It doesn't happen because you know The Right Way for everyone to manage their lives or their businesses or their operations. It is driven by tangible benefits, not ideology.

    (Magically, this results in people seeing tangible benefits from their decisions rather than absorbing "unexpected" costs related to idealistic or mandatory early adoption.)

  • Pray, tell (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @01:23PM (#40101159)
    Mr. Attorney:

    as one attorney who's involved in the market says he represents a woman who came into possession of a block of IPv4 address in the early '90s and now, 'She's in her 70s, and she's going to have a windfall

    How, in any tangible way is she anything more than a cybersquatter? Also: 'came into possession'? What, they 'fell off the back of a truck'? Sounds as sketchy as the legal profession.

    • by Virtucon (127420)

      Well it's the same as somebody parked on "sex.com" right? I mean if a .com can cybersquat why can't an old granny?

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      If I buy a few million numbers out of a range of several billions when only a few thousand numbers of the entire range are ever going to be used, am I cybersquatting?
      What about if two decades later it turns out everybody was wrong and we ARE using most of the range?

      Maybe she knew somebody who got assigned 123.x.x.x and he gave her 123.123.x.x as a birthday present because he was broke so he couldn't give her a real present?

      Those IP numbers were considered pretty much worthless when the internet started, wit

  • "It will be a slow, natural progression forward, with a lot of legacy IPv4 content and assets lying around,"

    IPv4 content? Seriously? Assets? You mean old routers that don't support IPv6? if businesses have been buying enterprise network gear that only supports IPv4 then they deserve to have stacks of them sitting around, but there's no reason that an enterprise still can't use a LANA scheme and use NAT-PT at the edge. I swear people make the whole IPv6 thing seem like it will change the whole world, it

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