Strewth! Aussie ISP gets eye-watering IPv4 bill, shifts to IPv6 addresses

When the bottom line gets bashed, priorities change

For years, internet engineers have predicted that the cost of an ever-smaller pool of IPv4 addresses would cause people to shift to the internet's new IPv6 protocol. Well, it finally appears to be happening.

Speaking at the annual conference of Australian Network Operators late last week, the managing director of ISP Aussie Broadband, Phillip Britt, told attendees that his company had decided to speed up IPv6 adoption after it calculated the growing cost of sticking with IPv4.

"The high cost of IPv4 space led to us speeding up our IPv6 project," Britt noted in his presentation [PDF], "and we are now looking at carrier-grade NAT vendors as a longer term solution rather then buying more IPv4 space."

CG-NAT is still not IPv6 but it is a step forward to moving to the new protocol, and comes after Britt revealed that his company had spent AU $380,000 ($273,000, £212,200) acquiring a /18 block of IPv4 addresses back in June. It has calculated it needs to buy another equally sized block of just over 16,000 addresses next month – which will cost even more: AU $405,000 ($291,000, £226,200).

He calculated that that new block would only last until the end of November, requiring yet another expensive purchase. Put into a spreadsheet, the cost of sticking with the old addresses becomes all the more stark: it will save the company millions of dollars to shift to IPv6.

"Moving to CG-NAT has become an economic decision," Britt noted, adding that over the next three years it would be AU $11.9m cheaper to upgrade its core network than keep purchasing IPv4 addresses.

Not waiting

Originally the company was not planning to move to Carrier Grade NAT (CG-NAT) – where end users are given private network addresses that are then translated into public IPv4 addresses at middleboxes in an ISP's network – until it was in a position to offer native IPv6, Britt told attendees.

Businessman boxer

We've found another problem with IPv6: It's sparked a punch-up between top networks


But once the figures were crunched and the hardware cost of AU $7.2m ($5.2m) to introduce CG-NAT was compared to IPv4 address costs of AU $4.8m ($3.5m) in the first year, AU $6.7m ($4.8m) in the second, and AU $7.6m ($5.5m) in the third, the decision was easy.

That's a move that will be welcomed by many internet engineers who have long despaired at the incredibly slow rollout of IPv6 even as IPv4 address have slowly dried up. Shifting to IPv6 is not easy, and comes with its own problems and costs, thanks in large part to the fact that the two protocols are not compatible. It is still only 25 per cent of traffic despite being drawn up 20 years ago.

As a result, most companies have fallen back on technology that allows them to make more of existing IPv4 addresses, even though that approach breaks the engineer's end-to-end principle. Why? Because money talks.

In this case, however, despite the decision to invest in NAT technology, Aussie Broadband has also decided it needs to speed up its IPv6 rollout. And it has used financial arguments to make that case.

"Savings are actually deeper if you include core network upgrade into IPv4 purchase figures," Britt noted. ®

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021