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The Internet Networking Technology

Protect Your Pre-1997 IP Address 275

CWmike writes "With IPv4 space running out any day now, is your legacy IP address space safe? Marc Lindsey writes that if your company obtained its IP address space before 1997, you have probably received several letters from the American Registry for Internet Numbers encouraging you to enter into a contractual agreement to protect the IP address. But should you sign it? Be careful — there are several issues you should consider before signing up for this, writes Lindsey, who offers a deeper look at the issue."
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Protect Your Pre-1997 IP Address

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  • Printable (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 2010 @11:37AM (#34523334)

    Save some time, 4 pages is silly given the content.

    Printable Version. []

  • Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkKnightRadick ( 268025 ) <> on Saturday December 11, 2010 @11:43AM (#34523364) Homepage Journal

    There is nothing special about IPv4. Upgrade your systems to IPv6 already, folks. It's been around for what? 10 years now? Give me a break.

    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 11, 2010 @11:55AM (#34523444)

      Upgrade your systems to IPv6 already, folks.

      Yeah, just like that. ISPs should replace millions of dollars worth of high end network equipment, find sensible IPv6 transit providers and re-negotiate their peering arrangements (whom may not want to peer with IPv6), then allocate and assign IPv6 addresses to every single IP endpoint on their entire network and then spend a couple of million more replacing end-user network equipment that almost certainly doesn't support IPv6, then await the massive flood of complaints from users who have additional non-IPv6 equipment behind their router which no longer works E.g. almost every consumer VoIP phone every shat out by the lowest bidder.

      That's just for a small ISP.

      The major force holding back IPv6 deployment is shitty consumer hardware that doesn't "do" IPv6, and shitty network hardware vendors who charge an arm and a leg for IPv6 capable routers etc. (coupled with the fact that people have already invested a lot of money on non-IPv6 hardware anyway). It's not like the ISPs are doing it just to piss you off.

      • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @12:25PM (#34523628) Journal

        Yeah, just like that. ISPs should replace millions of dollars worth of high end network equipment

        ISPs replace millions of dollars worth of high end network equipment every year. Capacity grows fast enough that anything more than a few years old is so laughably obsolete it's not worth maintaining. Anyone who's been buying equipment for an ISP and not mandating IPv6 compatibility for the last ten years really shouldn't still have a job.

        • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Splab ( 574204 ) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @12:51PM (#34523780)

          We do?

          Actually no we don't, because customers (that would be you) aren't willing to pay the actual cost of equipment. Upgrades are something that happens when the old stuff is dead or 5 years has passed (the time it takes to write it off), whichever comes first.

          • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            You mean the company won't take the hit to profit to replace that stuff.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            ok, I'll bite.
            A five year life cycle?
            IPv6 has been with us for 10 years?
            That mean that you have had 2 chances to upgrade your equipment to something that would support it.
            This is not some thing that has snuck up on you, your just cheap or lazy or afraid of the change.
            I think that what you meant was, "Customers are not willing to pay more for the equipment and we don't want to cut in to our profits to update our hardware."
            Except, of course for the fact that you have ignored this problem for over a decade.

            • you mustn't understand how companies deal with their capital expenditures, and replacement costs of infrastructure.

              a company is going to replace network gear typically every 5 years or so. same company may replace servers every 3 years depending on need/workload.
              those replacements are typically spelled out 6 months prior to the year in which they are replaced, and the new cost is put into the capex. capex goes through approvals, and typically gets a nice little chop because IT wants to add/replace too muc

              • I'm not suggesting that the IT departments are the cheap, lazy, luddites in this equation.
                I'm just saying that "the customers don't want to pay for the new equipment" is a weak excuse.
                We didn't want to pay for the old equipment. So what?
                If IPv4 doesn't give you any problems locally and you aren't worried about SomeOne Else's problems, keep it. If it aint broke why fix it?
                If you must upgrade you can pay the cost difference from your profit margin or charge more.
                I get how companies feel about lowering their p

          • Well, assuming you don't try to replace your entire network in a brief flurry of activity once every five years, then you don't have to have that much equipment in your system to end up replacing millions of dollars worth of it every year.

            Indeed, given the size and cost of some data centers these days, I don't think it would that hard to spend a couple million dollars every month upgrading the hardware in a single building. It would probably be more cost effective that trying to maintain a static configu
        • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @03:03PM (#34524554)

          I work at a university which is an ISP, as most universities are. We are still using Cisco 6500s from about 10 years ago, and will continue to use those 6500s for some time. They are actually upgrading a few of the core routers soon, but basically only because the central network guys want new toys to play with, the 6500s work fine. Despite the massive increase in campus bandwidth, those 6500s work just fine. We'd probably have to move to something bigger than 10gbit connections to buildings (which we are actually just moving to now) before they wouldn't.

          Now the 6500s are flexible platforms, and you can buy new supervisors to do IPv6. We actually did this a couple years ago... At a cost of about $10,000,000. That is just to serve the 50,000ish users on campus. Also that is only the big core equipment. The edge equipment didn't have to be upgraded since it is all switched at that point.

          This idea that ISPs just trash tons of high end equipment every year is stupid. High end stuff doesn't get replaced until it is necessary, and that can be a long, long time. If you want them to buy all new hardware yearly, well then be prepared for your bill to go way up.

          Also, that isn't the only problem. IPv6 support is not good at all in the home. A lot of routers don't support IPv6. I bought a Linksys router/WAP about a year ago, one of the N ones even, no IPv6 support. So if my ISP went all v6 I'd have to rebuy it and you know people would be mad about that. Even computers are problematic. There's a lot of XP systems out there and it has no IPv6 support. Sure it can be installed, you really thing a non-technical user can handle that?

          Before IPv6 is feasible we not only need more ISP upgrades, we need more upgrades at home. Also, we really aren't going to need a good 4-to-6 setup. We need some way in the home that old devices that don't support v6 and can't be upgraded can get a v4 address that can then be routed transparently through the connection's v6 address. If that exists, I've not seen it.

          It is a complex issue, and hence not something that will get solved quickly. I don't think we'll really start seeing IPv6 adoption in a big way for several more years. Once device support is far more wide spread, and more network equipment has been upgraded, it'll be more feasible. Also, when IPv4 really DOES start to deplete, and by that I mean companies start to run out of addresses not just that the top level assignments are gone, then there'll be pressure to make it happen.

          People forget that the "running out" that is spoken of isn't that all addresses will be gone. It is that all available high level blocks will be allocated to regional registrars. They will still have space to allocate, and even when they run out most ISPs will still have space to allocate. It is when the ISPs start running out, that is when we are ACTUALLY running out of IPv4 space in a meaningful way, and there'll be pressure to move to something larger.

      • It's not like the ISPs are doing it just to piss you off.

        No, they aren't doing it just to make us mad, but they could be doing a whole lot more. ISPs are probably the biggest end buyers of consumer level wireless routers. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but they have to be a big chunk because so many consumers don't know how to set them up and therefore rent modems and wireless routers from the ISP. They have to be a relatively big bulk buyer. They could insist that no one gets the contract for new purchases un

        • And the better home routers already have IPv6 support, especially those that can run DDWRT, so those users that bought expensive dual band n routers probably wouldn't have to upgrade at all.

          And just to pre-empt anyone who argues it is too difficult for a non-geek to flash DDWRT onto a home router, remember that all Buffalo routers come with DDWRT as the factory default firmware, so actually you don't have to flash anything to get a home router with DDWRT and IPv6.

    • by anegg ( 1390659 )
      Before you make the upgrade from IPv4 to IPv6 across your network, you will want to make sure that your network equipment can maintain its advertised speeds handling IP v6 traffic. For example, routing equipment and security devices may have had hardware optimizations that work with IPv4 protocol traffic but not IPv6. If your network equipment doesn't support IPv6 traffic at those devices rated performance levels, you will need to analyze your performance needs and equipment upgrade options prior to upgra
      • by Surt ( 22457 )

        Very true, however IPv6 does include important routing optimizations that will (at least in theory) mean it is easier to route than IPv4.

        So there's no good reason it should route slower than ipv4, just potentially poor hardware / software implementation.

    • by Chemisor ( 97276 )

      IPv4 is not going anywhere, even if IPv6 is adopted by the ISPs. There is plenty of hardware around that does not support v6 addressing, like network printers and most current home broadband routers. Just like companies hoard IE6 because their stuff doesn't work without it, so will they keep intranets on IPv4 no matter how much IPv6 propaganda is flung at them. Personally, like most normal people, I have no interest in having any IPv6 on my home network. It is much easier for the ISP to provide a 6to4 gatew

    • by Surt ( 22457 )

      It's been around for what? 10 years now? Give me a break.

      12 years pretty much exactly:

      IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and is described in Internet standard document RFC 2460, published in December 1998.[1] []

    • This isn't an option for us. We qualified for address space under ARIN's old rules, and as such, we own a directly allocated IPv4 /24. The requirements for IPv6 space are higher, and we don't qualify for an allocation. If we give up our IPv4 /24 we get nothing for it, we'll be at the mercy of our ISP for address space, and that will make it impossible for me to add redundant uplinks later.

      With this stuff in mind, I intend to defend my IPv4 allocation until such time as ARIN forcibly reclaims it.

    • [Bitter rant]
      Fine; you pony-up the cash I'll need to R&R all the stuff in my network that still doesn't bother to support IPv6. And while you're at it, how about coughing-up some funds so I can just get basic maintenance done?
      Go back to your Playstation, kid.
      [/Bitter rant.]
    • by r7 ( 409657 )

      Upgrade your systems to IPv6 already

      Is this a rhetorical question or what? Considering that no equipment currently on the market does IPv4 to IPv6 NAT any IPv6 device would only be able to contact at best 0.001% of the Internet. Give me a break is right, just not a broken Internet. IPv6 is still a long way from being usable.

  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by froggymana ( 1896008 )

    Why would it matter if you have the same IP address you've had for several years? Whats wrong with switching to a different one?

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by isorox ( 205688 ) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @12:09PM (#34523518) Homepage Journal

      Why would it matter if you have the same IP address you've had for several years? Whats wrong with switching to a different one?

      Ask wikileaks. We're entering a world where you can't rely on DNS.

    • Why would it matter if you have the same phone number you've had for several years? What's wrong with switching to a different one?

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @12:29PM (#34523658) Journal

        Not the same. My phone number is published, my IP address isn't. I've moved IP addresses for my server four times in the last year. I set the DNS TTL to a few seconds, wait for old caches to expire, update it to the new address, and then reset the TTL to a longer value. No on notices.

        I just moved to a new mobile phone company too. My SIM ID, which is used to uniquely identify my phone on the network, changed. My phone number was moved across. The phone number is just an entry in a database that maps to a SIM ID, just as DNS maps to IP addresses (actually, DNS can map to all sorts of other things, including geospacial coordinates and telephone numbers).

        That's why we have these layers of indirection - so the low-level ones can be changed easily.

        • by Splab ( 574204 )

          Actually it is the same. You just aren't used to have to ask the whitepages where person X is at the moment everytime you dial him up.

          In fact, it isn't until very recently you where able to move a phonenumber with you (EU, no idea how it works in US) - requiring you to update all those who might want to contact you.

    • by dissy ( 172727 )

      Why would it matter if you have the same IP address you've had for several years? Whats wrong with switching to a different one?

      There isn't. The problem is you asked the wrong question.
      This is ARIN we are talking about, they don't deal with single IP addresses.

      Try a /16 block, or 65000 IP addresses.

      To reword your question into relevance: "Why would it matter if you have the same 65000 IP addresses you've had for several years? Whats wrong with switching to a different 65000 addresses?"

      Can you not imagine the undue amount of work such a change would involve to renumber that many computers, servers, routers, switches, DNS entries,

  • by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @12:33PM (#34523670)
    So, where does the letter go for all of those bankrupt companies? Silicon Valley post offices must have a large pile of undeliverable ones.

    Maybe that's the final legacy of dead startups: their IPV4 address block is worth more than the company ever was.
  • I got one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bbn ( 172659 ) <> on Saturday December 11, 2010 @12:33PM (#34523672)

    I just checked. My 1994 class C is still allocated to me. I have no idea how to regain control over it though as every single contact detail, except my name, is outdated by 15 years.

    It was never used on the public internet. But back then they said you should get one for your local lan. This was before everyone started doing 192.168.x.y. So I applied for a class C and got it.

    Even if I did manage to get RIPE to correct the contact details, I do not know any ISP who would advertize it for me. So this class C is part of the dead IPv4 space that will probably never get used.

    • by sphealey ( 2855 )

      Um, why don't you send a notarized letter via certified post to your regional IP address manager (e.g. ARIN) describing the details under which you obtained the block and giving up any interest in same? If they need that block back it would at least give them a starting point to work with.


    • Re:I got one (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Saturday December 11, 2010 @01:11PM (#34523900) Homepage

      IANAL, but here's some perspective from someone who has been in the thick of the ARIN policy process for the last few years:

      First, you're talking about RIPE (european IP addresses) while the article is about the registration services process at ARIN (north american IP addresses).

      Had you been talking about ARIN, this is frankly the kind of thing where you'll want to sign the LRSA and soon. ARIN will work with you to nail down the details and confirm the registration but they'll want to normalize their relationship with you via a signed contract first. I think they'll still update if you come to them with ironclad documentation, but if you had ironclad documentation you'd have been the kind of person who kept the registration up to date to begin with.

      For those who are still contactable via at least the email address published on the registration, now is not the time to sign the LRSA. ARIN claims you have more rights under the LRSA than under the regular RSA but on close examination the claim doesn't really hold up. It's a standard adhesion contract in which the powerful party has reserved the rights to themselves.

      That having been said, keep tabs on proposed ARIN policy every 6 months or so. ARIN probably won't seek the legal liability from trying to seize legacy registrations that are obviously in use, but the situation could change.

      If you are in the situation where your contact details are dead, I personally think you SHOULD sign the LRSA and normalize things with ARIN. A /24 is going to be worth at least $1000 within 12 months, and probably a lot more. IPv6 won't deploy fast enough, the IPv4 free pool will be gone by mid year and the only source of new IPv4 addresses will be folks who are willing to sell.

      On the other side, the unrouted dead registrations without valid contacts are very likely to evaporate in the next 24 months. The ARIN policies for this sort of reclamation aren't in place yet, but mark my words: they will be.

      • One thing I've been trying to figure out, what exactly is going to happen in the next year or so? We know that ipv4 is going to run out of addresses, and we know that ipv6 hasn't really been rolled out yet (I myself will need to buy a new wireless router, which is ok). But what's going to happen? Will IANA stop giving out numbers and say, "sorry, nothing we can do. No more numbers." Will that pressure people to switch over to ipv6, or will it stop any new websites from coming online for a few years?

        When i
        • "But what's going to happen? Will IANA stop giving out numbers and say, "sorry, nothing we can do. No more numbers."

          Yes. Quite possibly in less than a month.

          When we're down to 5 /8's they're distributed to the RIRs automatically and IANA shuts down its ipv4 operations forever.

          The RIRs then have until their v4 pool runs dry - they won't get any more - which may be quite quick for some (like apnic) and slower for others.

          After that it's down to what ISPs have - they'll probably ramp up their prices for v4 an

          • by Surt ( 22457 )

            With y2k, there was significant worry that existing infrastructure would cease to function. With this, it's mostly a threat of new services not being able to get started. Slowing growth is much less worrisome than an immediate reversal of 50 years of progress.

    • Pretty much any colo where you have a box should be able to announce it for you.

    • by Surt ( 22457 )

      Why don't you forward your mail from the old address to the current one, then request action by mail?

      • by bbn ( 172659 )

        In my area it is only possible to forward mail for 6 months. It is certianly not possible to forward mail from an address I had 15 years ago.

        The email is to a no longer existing ISP, using their domain of course.

        The phone number is likely in use by someone else by now, and with the wrong area code in any case.

        I would probably have to find some proof that I lived at that address 15 years ago and present it to RIPE. But why would I bother? I have no use for that class C. Big companies that waste a class A can

  • Call me crazy, but wasn't DNS invented to remove the significance of using IP addresses as a means of identification?
    • Call me crazy, but wasn't DNS invented to remove the significance of using IP addresses as a means of identification?

      That was before Javascript security issues mandated dns pinning.

      Not that everything (or really much of anything) actually implemented DNS TTLs before, but I like blaming Javascript for all the world's ills.

  • by PPH ( 736903 )

    They can pry out of by cold, dead hands!

  • Every time this discussion comes up, people fail to see the significance of IPv4 running out. It's 2010, and folks still get confused.

    The significance is this: There are massive growth regions in the world that will only be able to purchase IPv6 addresses within the next year or two. And if you aren't playing the IPv6 game, then you're shutting you and your customers off from all those various markets that will open up in years to come.

    There's only so much can be squeezed out of IPv4. But regardless of how

  • It's ridiculous that companies own more than a /24 (256 IP addresses) since they're not using it for public visibility. Even a web site can mask thousands of servers behind a single IP. If they have multiple sites, let them have a /24 per site. This business of letting companies use multiple /16 or /8 (that's 16.8 million IPs) for private networks is ridiculous.

    People who say "just switch to IPv6" simply don't get it. The reason is that even after you "switch", you really haven't switched at all beca
    • What are ARIN's contractual obligations for address ranges they have allocated? Can they just decide to give notice that addresses will be rescinded?

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