Dimensioning the Elephant: An Empirical Analysis of the IPv4 Number Market
14 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2016
Date Written: September 1, 2012
One of the most important but least-studied aspects of Internet policy is the emergence of a trading market for previously allocated Internet number blocks. Without unique Internet protocol numbers for the networks and devices attached, the Internet simply doesn’t work. The original Internet Protocol standard, known as IPv4, specified a 32-bit numbering space, which provided slightly less than 4 billion unique numbers that could be used as addresses (Postel, 1981). A large part of that number space has already been handed out to organizations. The available supply is dwindling, and the Asia-Pacific region is already reduced to rationing its last /8 in tiny, 1024-address chunks, one to an organization, while the European region is only a few months from that status.
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