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The IPV6 Challenge: RIPE NCC Warns of Arrested Development of the Internet

ipv4 depletion ipv6 press release news

The RIPE NCC (Network Coordination Centre) - an independent organisation that supports the infrastructure of the Internet for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia, has stated the pressing need for IPv6 deployment in order to protect and ensure the healthy, fast development of the Internet economy and the future of IP networks.

One of five global Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), RIPE NCC warns that Internet growth and innovation depends on continued availability of IP address space and that remaining IPv4 space is likely to be fully allocated within two to four years. Currently, 180 of 256 blocks of "/8"[1] have already been allocated. Of the remaining 76, 35 are already reserved for the Internet Engineering Taskforce (IETF) and the remaining 41 blocks are held in the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) pool for future allocation to the RIRs.

As IPv6 provides the necessary address space for future growth, RIPE NCC is urging business and government leaders to ease the path for wider deployment of IPv6 addresses. Failure to adopt these new resources could mean a slowing in the pace of Internet innovation.

Now is the time to recognize that sustain growth of the IPv4-based Internet is coming to an end, and that it is time to move on, with IPv6 ready as the successor.

"In order to sustain the impressive speed of Internet innovation and ensure a healthy Internet economy for the future, we recommend that content providers make their services available over IPv6," comments Axel Pawlik, Managing Director at RIPE NCC. "We view governments as key players in Internet growth and urge them to play their part in the deployment of IPv6 and in particular to lead by example in making content available in IPV6. Ultimately, we urge that the widespread deployment of IPv6 be made a high priority by all stakeholders."

When CIOs make firm decisions to deploy IPv6, the process is fairly straightforward. Staff will have to be trained, management tools will need to be enhanced, routers and operating systems will need to be updated, and IPv6-enabled versions of applications will need to be deployed. All these steps will take time.

The move to IPv6 will provide billions of further addresses through 128-bit addressing, which allows 50 billion, billion addresses for every person on the planet. Islands of IPv6 are already in use, but RIPE NCC argues that infrastructure support must be addressed in time for IPv6 to fulfil its predicted role as the catalyst for the next stage of Internet development.

Pawlik concludes: "We have well-established, open and widely supported mechanisms for Internet resource management and we're confident that our Policy Development Process meets and will continue to meet the needs of all Internet stakeholders through the period of IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 deployment. The immediate challenge lies in making content available in IPV6 using the processes and mechanisms already available to ensure that service providers and content providers build adequate experience and expertise in good time."

Notes to Editors

About the RIPE NCC

Founded in 1992, the RIPE NCC is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that supports the infrastructure of the Internet. The most prominent activity of the RIPE NCC is to act as a Regional Internet Registry (RIR) providing global Internet resources and related services to a current membership base of around 5,500 members in over 70 countries. These members consist mainly of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), telecommunication organisations and large corporations located in Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia.

As one of the world's five RIRs, the RIPE NCC performs a range of critical functions including:

  • The reliable and stable allocation of Internet number resources (IPv4, IPv6 and AS Number resources)
  • The responsible storage and maintenance of this registration data
  • The provision of an open, publicly accessible database where this data can be accessed

The RIPE NCC also provides a range of technical and coordination services for the Internet community. These services include the operation of K-root (one of the 13 root name servers), the Deployment of Internet Security Infrastructure (DISI) and DNS Monitoring (DNSMON).

As a result of its established position in the Internet industry, the RIPE NCC has played an important role in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), European Union (EU) workshops and government briefings on key issues in the current Internet landscape.

Media Enquiries

Please contact either Blaise Hammond or Lucie Smith at Racepoint Group UK

Tel: +44 (0) 208 752 3200


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1 "8" corresponds to 16,777,216 unique addresses.