Saving IP addresses was not a concern at the beginning of the Internet. Some companies were allocated blocks/8 (16 million addresses) or /16 (65536 addresses) which often exceeded their actual needs. The notion of IP address class in use in the 1980s, and up to the early 90s resulted in underutilization of available space, as it was common for a class C (a range of 256 addresses) is assigned to a network of only a few computers. The proliferation of mobile devices and the advent of IoT have also increased the demand for addresses.
Because IPv4 addresses are a 32-bit string, the number of addresses available for the IPv4 address space is about 4 billion. In total, there are 4,294,967,296 unique values, considered in this context as a sequence of 256 “/ 8”, each “/8” corresponding to 16,777,216 unique address values. These addresses are reserved for particular uses including 16/8 blocks reserved for use in multicast scenarios, 16/8 blocks reserved for unspecified future use, a/8 (0.0.0.0/8) for identification local, a/8 for loopback (127.0.0.0/8) and a/8 for private use (10.0.0.0/8) Smaller address blocks are also reserved for other special uses.
In February 2011, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which oversees the global allocation of IP addresses, indicated that it had exhausted blocks/8 of IPv4 addresses for Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). Then, gradually, the RIRs have exhausted their stock in turn. It is the APNIC or Asia-Pacific Network Information Center which serves the Asian continent which declares during the same year, to be out of address IPV4. It was then the turn of Europe (RIPE) in 2012 to run out of steam.
Since then, the European RIR has been rationing its last IP/8 address block, which makes a total of 16 million addresses. To do this, LIRs (Local Internet Registrar) could have only one last block / 22 extracts of the last block/8. Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC) reached its limits in June 2014. And it was later in February 2017 that LACNIC moved to “phase 3”, when only companies that did not have space IPv4 were allowed to get one of the remaining addresses – which will only be available in block/22. Finally, the American Registry for Internet Numbers experienced an IPv4 drought in September 2015. AFRINIC estimates the depletion of its blocks of IPV4 to September 2019.
Even if some unused addresses by some organizations or companies were later returned to IANA, the fact remains that an alternative must be found to get around the problem of burnout. A report yesterday on the state of the IPv4 address pool 1demonstrates this. After the first half of this year, the last area on the list, that is Africa will no longer have IPv4 address blocks. The IPv6 address space represents the future of the Internet. IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is an OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) layer 3 connectionless network protocol.
IPv6 is the culmination of work carried out within the IETF in the 1990s to succeed IPv4 and its specifications were finalized in RFC 2460 in December 1998. IPv6 was standardized in RFC 8200 in July 2017. With 128-bit instead of 32-bit addresses, IPv6 has a much larger address space than IPv4. This large amount of address allows for greater flexibility in address allocation and better aggregation of routes in the Internet routing table. With IPv6, billions of billions of IP addresses will be available.
Some users believe that IPv6 has much more to offer than the volume of addresses. This will, they believe, provides businesses with greater granularity by identifying website traffic from various businesses, offices, or devices. Marketing analysts will be able to better know their customers, spread more experiences of personalized websites and lead a larger conversion of websites. For them, when we think about this, IPv6 is perhaps the marketing tool expected by companies. For some years now, many of the areas that have exhausted their IPv4 address pools earlier and some large companies have started the transition to IPv6.
It was reported by Google in October 2018 that the global proportion of use of IPv6 had crossed the 25% mark. In the same year, France estimated at 23.32% the transition to IPv6 on its territory. For other users, it is true that IPv6 is a very user-friendly standard, but the most important issue for them in this transition to IPv6 is the availability of mainstream routers that support IPv6. According to them, although the protocol is not so difficult, we need a real firewall (no NAT, on which all low-end routers rely) and other equipment very specific with costs often out of reach for small businesses. This would slow down, according to them, the transition to IPv6.