Should APNIC Members transfer Final /8 blocks?

By on 27 Sep 2016

Category: Policy

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A proposal to prevent the transfer of address blocks delegated under the Final /8 policy is to be discussed at APNIC 42 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Prop-116Prohibit to transfer IPv4 addresses in the final /8 block would affect all resource holders with 103/8 resources, whether they were delegated by APNIC, or obtained through transfer.

Why is this policy being discussed?

APNIC reached its Final /8 [the 103/8 block] on 15 April 2011. Since then, IPv4 address resources have been distributed according to prop-062Use of final /8, which was subsequently modified by prop-093Reducing the minimum delegation size for the final /8 policy. Combined, these two policy proposals put in place a set of rules that allowed new and existing APNIC and NIR Members to obtain no more than a /22 from the 103/8 address space from APNIC.

The current transfer policy does not differentiate between resources delegated before or after the activation of the Final /8 policy. So new Member organizations are able to apply for resources and then transfer them to another Member without breaking the APNIC policies.

There is potential for this policy to be exploited for financial gain, with the addresses being sold to another Member.

There is also potential for this strategy to be used by existing Members who simply want to get more IPv4 than the policy allows. In these cases, the same person or entity opens multiple new Member Accounts and then transfers them all into their original account.

This way they get immediate use of the resources and once they are transferred into a single account, their fees are lowered. It may be good for them, but the intent of the Final /8 policy was to ensure that there was a small amount of IPv4 resources available for new entrants for a long time into the future. Long enough so that by the time the pool was empty, IPv6 would be so widely deployed, there would be sufficient returned resources, or maybe even no IPv4 was required at all to connect to the global Internet.

What policy is the new proposal concerned with?

The proposal under discussion is concerned only with ‘Market Transfers’, or prop-050 transfers, which was a ‘no questions asked’ policy originally implemented in February 2010.

The Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) policy that allows for the transfer of resources with the sale of a business and its network infrastructure would also be covered by the change. Version 2 of the proposal says the transfer of 103 address is only possible where the merged entity will have up to /22 IPv4 address in the 103/8 block. Excess addresses would need to be returned to APNIC for re-allocation as it would not be possible to transfer them if the proposal is accepted as written.

APNIC requires proof of transfer of ownership, not only of the business but of the network infrastructure. Members claiming to have sold their business to an organization in the RIPE NCC region need to prove they also sold the hardware, shipped it to Europe, and rebuilt it there.

Five years ago, the community felt it was important to insure the industry against a final, exhaustive run-out before the IPv6 Internet had reached a maturity that would allow a newcomer to join and participate in the network without any IPv4 addresses.

While we have seen some reassuring growth trends in IPv6 deployment, we are still a long way from this ideal. It may be that we will always need a small amount of IPv4 to interconnect the two protocols, because, as we have seen, some network operators seem determined to delay or avoid joining the IPv6 migration and will do whatever it takes to access additional IPv4 addresses.

The relatively small amount of addresses set aside to ensure connectivity for newcomers is in danger of depleting long before the need for them has passed. Less than half remain and with consumption rates trending upward, it is fair to predict the second half of the block will not last as long as the first half did.

Section 3.2.2 of APNIC Policy states:

Early strategies for distributing address space did not anticipate the rapid growth of the Internet and the scaling problems that followed, affecting both the amount of address space available and routing. Therefore, APNIC policies take account of past experience and seek to manage address space in a way that will maximize future scaling of the Internet.

The Policy SIG at APNIC 42 needs to decide whether this basic objective of APNIC policy remains relevant to today’s environment and whether the proposal to adopt prop-116 to stop 103/8 transfers works for the benefit and future of the Internet in the Asia Pacific.

Want to know more?

Join our Facebook Live Q&A session this Wednesday, 28 September from 13:00 (UTC+10) as we discuss this and two other policy proposals to be discussed at APNIC 42.

Join the event and post your questions now!

If you won’t be at APNIC 42,you can participate in the YouTube Live and Adobe Connect broadcasts of Policy SIG sessions, starting at  (UTC +05:30) Tuesday, 4 October.

This post was updated to reflect Version 2 of the proposal

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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