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Get ready for a literal waiting list for European IPv4 addresses. And no jumping the line

RIPE approves new policy that shouldn't really exist

Updated If you want ripe RIPE IPv4 addresses, there will be a literal waiting list to join.

In a new policy approved and posted on Tuesday, the regional internet registry (RIR) that serves Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, dubbed RIPE, has decided that the only way it can deal with the ever-diminishing number of unassigned IPv4 addresses is for everyone to form an orderly queue.

"On application for IPv4 resources, LIRs will receive IPv4 addresses according to the following," notes the new policy. And the first bulletpoint? "All allocation requests are placed on a first-come-first-served waiting list. No guarantees are given about the waiting time."

The registry has also decided that it is not worth its while dishing out tiny numbers of public IP addresses, and will only make an allocation once it has a full /24 block, i.e. 256 consecutive addresses, to hand over.

The new policy: "All address blocks smaller than the allocation size will be held by the RIPE NCC and are declared unallocatable until the missing fragments are received/recovered by the RIPE NCC and they can be allocated as a contiguous allocation."

Big bill

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


And a /24 is all you're going to get. From the policy: "The size of the allocation made will be exactly one /24. The sum of all allocations made to a single LIR by the RIPE NCC is limited to a maximum of 256 IPv4 addresses (a single /24). If this allocation limit has been reached or exceeded, an LIR cannot request an IPv4 allocation under this policy."

In other words, you will have to queue for an indefinite period of time to get your hands on a block of 256 addresses.

The good news is that faced with the absolutely stark, irrefutable fact that there really are no new IPv4 addresses, all corporations in Europe have collectively decided to expend all necessary resources to move permanently to IPv6.

Ha! Who you kidding? It's NATs-a-go-go, and record prices on the IPv4 black market. Remind us again why the IETF didn't make IPv6 backwards compatible… ®

Updated to add

We'd like to stress that the waiting list policy was announced only this week, and so, has yet to be implemented. Stay tuned, though: it will kick in when RIPE deems it necessary, likely when it runs out of IPv4 addresses later this year or early 2020.

Also, yes, as some have pointed out, there is a black market for IPv4 addresses if you want to get your hands on some right now rather than get in line.

And for those of us in North America, yes, ARIN already has an IPv4 waiting list of sorts. That registry notes:

The IPv4 Waiting List is one of several ways an organization may request IPv4 addresses from ARIN. Other available options are to transfer resources or request IPv4 addresses from pools reserved specifically for micro-allocations (NRPM 4.4) or Dedicated IPv4 block to facilitate IPv6 Deployment (NRPM 4.10).

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