Gartner Research

IPv4 Address Exhaustion: An Inconvenient Truth

Published: 09 January 2009

ID: G00203646

Analyst(s): Jeff Young

Summary

In the early 1990's, a crisis caused a call to action among Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) engineers--the Internet would exhaust its address space by 2000. The call to action produced three solutions. For a while, Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) and Network Address Translation (NAT) moved the exhaustion date to 2037; today, we estimate that it will be 2010 to 2012. In this report, Senior Analyst Jeff Young looks at issues that surround Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and IPv6 as the last IPv4 address is consumed.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings

Analysis

  • Inconvenient Truths
  • IPv4 Address Pool Exhaustion
  • When Will It Happen?
  • What Does Exhaustion Mean?
    • What Does It Really Mean?
    • What Does It Mean to Enterprises?
    • What Does It Mean to ISPs?
    • What Does It Mean to Average Users?
  • Why Aren't We Ready?
    • Internet Operations
    • Blame the Users
    • Blame the Technology
    • Blame the ISPs
    • Blame the IETF
  • What Are the Possible Remedies?
    • Extending the Life of IPv4
    • Increase the Use of Network Address Translation
    • Migrate to IPv6
    • Backward Compatibility
  • Market Impact
    • Effects of the Market on the Internet
    • Will the Market Cause Trouble?
    • Prerequisites for a Market
    • Resource Public Key Infrastructure
    • IPv4: A Free Market
  • Recommendations
    • Take Inventory
    • Review IP Address Management
    • Reconsider Your ISPs
    • Deploy IPv6 at the Edge

The Details

  • Just What Is an IP Address?
  • Assigning Numbers
    • Applying for IP Space
    • The HD Factor
  • IP Address “Ownership”
    • Who Is WHOIS?
    • Routing Registries
    • IP Address Value
    • IPv4 Address Exhaustion
    • When?

Conclusion

Notes

©2019 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.