Last month, the RIPE NCC started to allocate IPv4 address space from the last /8 – the final batch of unallocated IPv4 address space available in Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia. But what does this mean?
Any device used to connect to the Internet requires an Internet Protocol (IP) address, a unique identifier that enables it to communicate with other devices on the network. This means that everything from laptops and smartphones, through to Internet enabled TVs and refrigerators needs an IP address. But, as we have known for some time, the available IPv4 address space is running out. This is why it is essential for companies to be prepared to deploy the next Internet standard, IPv6, which allows for many more addresses than IPv4.
As IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are not compatible, companies that are not prepared for IPv6 run the risk of damaging their business. For instance, a company running only IPv4 may find that their site will become inaccessible once users start to come online with IPv6 only connections. This potential loss of accessibility could have a hugely detrimental impact on any business.
This is an important moment in the history of the Internet and a key focus of the RIPE NCC’s activities in recent years. We have provided the Internet community with transparent and accurate data regarding IP addressing issues including the unallocated pool of IPv4 addresses and the steps needed to adopt IPv6 in good time.
We have also organised, and will continue to provide, a range of government and industry IPv6 road shows that give guidance on best practice adoption. The RIPE NCC will continue to work with all stakeholders in the Internet industry and technical communities to ensure the continuation of responsible and transparent management of IP resources.
To learn more about IPv6, and what you need to do to be prepared, visit: http://www.ipv6actnow.org
Axel Pawlik is the Managing Director of the RIPE Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC). Axel graduated from the University of Dortmund, Germany, with a Masters Degree in Computer Science. He was later employed at the University of Dortmund from 1985 to 1992, where he contributed to the establishment of UNIX networking as a publicly available service in Germany.