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Visualizing IPv4 addresses on the Internet

It is well-known that available IP addresses in the IPv4 address space are becoming limited, but how does that look? IT pro Rick Vanover offers a visualization of the situation.

The IPv4 over-allocation comes up frequently in discussing the eventual exhaustion of available IPv4 addresses; in fact, Michael Kassner's recent post explains how available addresses are almost exhausted and that the days are limited for IPv4. The current situation of the IPv4 address space can be visualized to show who has what addresses, what is full, and what is available.

There are a number of resources to help determine what the Internet looks like and how it moves between geographic zones. Here are a few ways we can visualize what the Internet's IPv4 addresses and connections look like.

CAIDA IPv4 census

In 2006, the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA) produced a census of the IPv4 addresses. The census sent an array of ping tasks to addresses all over the Internet. The census clearly isn't reliable, as many addresses won't respond to ping commands. Nonetheless, the census map gives a visual representation of who has what addresses and how utilized they are. Figure A shows the 2006 status of the blocks of addresses and their utilization. Figure A

Figure A

Image reproduced from CAIDA.org. Click image to enlarge.

ICAAN Internet node map

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAAN) maintains a registry of the IPv4 addresses that are assigned. This resource lists the allocation of the entire address space. A post at ICAAN by Kim Davies outlines how the Internet address space was initially how the allocations were mapped from the origins of the Internet to a 2006 map that gives a visual indication of who owns what address space now. Figure B shows the ICAAN Map of the Internet.

Figure B

Figure B

Image reproduced from ICAAN. Click image to enlarge.

IPv4 addresses for sale?

Many allocations of the Internet are assigned to organizations, usually technology companies that were thinking it may be a good idea to invest in these blocks of the Internet addresses. Do companies like HP, Xerox, IBM, Prudential, and more need an entire 8-bit network on the Internet? In most situations, these address spaces are more than what is needed.

What do these visualization resources mean to you for the IPv4 address space? Share your comments below.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

14 comments
MrRenegade
MrRenegade

We could have a simple solution ICAAN IS the governing body behind the IP address scheme. Why don't they say ok everyone's /8s are now dissolved you want an IP address you have to rent each one individually And if we see the address isn't active for more than 1 month then guess what its goes back in the pool. Make the environment just like a DHCP server on a private network. Very simple quick and affective. If the company or persons want that IP address back they have a 30 day time-limit and then have to provide detailed information as to why the address was inactive and then if they do the crap with the same address again fine there butts. I would almost guarantee our address space would get freed up by almost 45% within the first 6 months.

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

And why? And how much was it then to purchase a /8 block? How much do you think they'd want if they sold it? I bet ENRON had one? Perhaps it was collapsed back into a usable pool? Oh, my thoughts are going random, LOL!

mark
mark

It's time to get these big corporations with the /8 allocations to confirm that they really need all those addresses and give up what they don't need.

b4real
b4real

These are good resources, unfortunately these groups haven't made a new version recently.

anicesteak
anicesteak

My former employer, now a bankrupt company, is listed as having a /8 address block, and precious little of it is used - according to the diagrams.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

whats stops ISP's running internal IP spaces with minimal public IP requirements. If done correctly there would be millions of addresses free. Actually have an 'information super highway', A / B roads (ISP) and estates (LAN'S)

alastairlee
alastairlee

trouble is all those big corporations are likely going to net $billions out of forcing everyone onto some other solution....

neilb
neilb

As well as those with a /8 of their own, why is the whole of 127.0.0.0/8 reserved? I mean, everyone knows that 127.0.0.1 is localhost, but why reserve the whole of the /8? You could just reserve 127.0.0.0/24 and free up the rest. Regards Neil

rmerchberger
rmerchberger

Every two years, there's a Chicken Little style "Sky is falling on IPv4" story warning of global destruction if we run out... I have two questions on this: 1) Why doesn't DEC... er, I mean Compaq... er, I mean HP *give back* the Class A they have if they're not going to use it? [[Gosh, then all the other companies like Ford, etc. do the same...]] 2) If we truly were running out of IP addresses, how is it that spammers have absolutely no problem finding more? Seriously, most smaller corporations don't need anything more than a class C, and I doubt Ford or HP need more than a single class B, especially with today's firewall technology and NAT pretty much required for security... Ah well, In a couple more years, instead of "almost 10% left" we'll be "Just under 10% left" and we'll get another IP address Chicken Little story again... Laterz!

nonimportantname
nonimportantname

#1, IT pros have been wondering about this for years. No answers are forthcoming from HP. Apparently, they are better than the rest of us. As for #2, spammers use other people's unsecured networks to do their dirty work MOST of the time. In proportion to the rest of the heads trotting the globe, yes, the IPv4 pool is depleting, but that's not to say that the average joe can't get a publicly resolve-able IP address and start up his own muck site. Bottom line, we're all best served learning the major differences and nuances (nuisances, LOL) of IPv6 sooner rather than later. Spark up a virtual network running IPv6 today!

Curious00000001
Curious00000001

Look at it another way; as soon as an item with limited numbers hits the market and starts being sold it is running out. For each item sold there is one less that can be sold and one item closer to running out. This doesn't mean it will happen any time soon but kind of like the "glass half empty" view. This strategy is used all the time and you cant argue against it because it is the truth... just not the whole truth. Consider the people who for the last sever hundred years have said the end of the world it coming. Of course it is. It can not possibly be getting further away, but the problem is this thinking intentionally gives people the wrong impression while only stating a fact.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Addresses get released all the time and reused!

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