After many false starts it looks like IPv4 is finally exhausting with RIPE today issuing notice that they now have 1 months’ worth of IPv4 space left before they have to start issuing from their last ever block. This has been a long time coming with many anticipating the end to IPv4 last year but it seems the tightening of the belts and increased regulation from RIPE has meant the IPs have lasted longer than expected. It will of course take longer to filter down to consumers as most ISPs are sitting on unused stock but it is a significant milestone nonetheless.
The biggest issue moving forward is the short timeframes RIPE are now providing for issuing new blocks. It has been reducing steadily as the IPv4 blocks have been used up but from October that period is now down to just one month. This means a customer has to forecast their usage over just one month – I remember not long ago that period used to be two years. This is near impossible for an ISP who basically will only be able to forecast a months’ worth of new customer IP demands, but even for customers this will be difficult as most new projects I have seen take longer than a month to deploy. Hence the block can’t be justified, and therefore granted as the IPs would not be used within the given timeframe.
For us (ie Fluidata) we have enough capacity in our existing pools for direct customers to last us quite a while but for customers looking to become ISPs and need to have a RIPE account time is definitely running out. It will be interesting how this restriction will affect new businesses entering the market while we wait for IPv6 to be fully adopted.