A Primer on IPv4 Scarcity

TitleA Primer on IPv4 Scarcity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRichter, P., Allman M., Bush R., & Paxson V.
Published inACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review
Other Numbers3766

With the ongoing exhaustion of free address pools at the registries serving the global demand for IPv4 address space, scarcity has become reality. Networks in need of address space can no longer get more address allocations from their respective registries.In this work we frame the fundamentals of the IPv4 address exhaustion phenomena and connected issues. We elaborate on how the current ecosystem of IPv4 address space has evolved since the standardization of IPv4, leading to the rather complex and opaque scenario we face today. We outline the evolution in address space management as well as address space use patterns, identifying key factors of the scarcity issues. We characterize the possible solution space to overcome these issues and open the perspective of address blocks as virtual resources, which involves issues such as differentiation between address blocks, the need for resource certification, and issues arising when transferring address space between networks.


This work was partially supported by funding provided to ICSI through National Science Foundation grant CNS : 1111672 (“Measuring and Modeling the Dynamics of IPv4 Address Exhaustion”). Additional funding was provided through DHS / ARL contract W911NF-05-C-0013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors or originators and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF, DHS, or ARL.

Bibliographic Notes

ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review, Vol. 45, Issue 2, pp. 21-31

Abbreviated Authors

P. Richter, M. Allman, R. Bush, and V. Paxson

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security

ICSI Publication Type

Article in journal or magazine