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Sh*t… we broke the Internet again!

By September 30, 2015 Broadband

Remember Y2k?

The Year 2000 problem (also known as the Millennium bug) was a computer-related problem that resulted from the practice of truncating a four-digit year to two digits. This made year 2000 indistinguishable from 1900. The former assumption that a twentieth-century date was always understood caused various errors concerning, in particular, the display of dates and the automated ordering of dated records or real-time events.

Lots of fuss but in the end the world did not actually end as predicted.

Last week, ARIN announced the depletion of Internet Addresses. This is a big deal. Similar to Y2k there is risk but to the typical IT end users the risk is minimal.

First… what is an IP Address

It is a unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network. Think of it like a phone number. And like phone numbers… sometimes there are too many phones and not enough numbers. Remember in Toronto when 416 overflowed into 905 and when New York’s sexy 212 area code exhausted and they added 646 (to the anger of many who wanted the vanity 212 number and not the alien 646).

Second…What is ARIN?

ARIN is a nonprofit corporation with headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia, USA. They are a really big deal.

The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) is the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Canada, the United States, and many Caribbean and North Atlantic islands. ARIN manages the distribution of Internet number resources, including IPv4 and IPv6 address space and AS numbers. ARIN opened its doors for business on December 22, 1997 after incorporating on April 18, 1997.

ARIN Ultimately rolls up to The Number Resource Organization or NRO which is an unincorporated organization uniting the five regional Internet registries or RIR’s.

Simply put, the Internet is basically cut into 5 slices:

  • African Network Information Center or AFRINIC
  • American Registry for Internet Numbers or ARIN for the United States, Canada, several parts of the Caribbean region, and Antarctica
  • Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre or APNIC or for Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and neighboring countries
  • Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre or LACNIC for Latin America and parts of the Caribbean region
  • Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) for Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Central Asia

It looks like this(1):

Regional_Internet_Registries_world_map.svgWhat happened?

ARIN announced last week that there are no more IPv4 addresses.

Is this bad?

Few organizations where thinking about when they may eventually stop using IPv4. They are going need to start soon. Some enterprise organizations have not given IPv6 much thought and are not aggressively moving to implementing it.

Now What? Move to IPv6!

So now that this Internet historic date of ARIN’s IPv4 run-out has arrived, we should review what our own organizations are doing to plan for the next phase of the Internet’s lifespan.

What is IPv6?

IPv6 is the new version of the Internet address protocol that has been developed to supplement (and eventually replace) IPv4, the version that underpins the Internet today.

How does IPv6 solve the problem of IPv4 address exhaustion?

Simply by having a lot more address space to uniquely identify devices that are connected to the Internet. IPv4 has a theoretical maximum of about 4 billion addresses whereas IPv6 has an unthinkable theoretical maximum: about 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses.

For the end user, the large amount of IPv6 address space means:

  • Home users will generally be given blocks of addresses sufficient to number multiple networks and thousands of devices. (In contrast, under IPv4, home users today typically get a single address.)
  • Enterprises and small businesses will generally be given enough to number a substantial number of networks and tens of thousands of devices; while larger sites will get significantly more.

Are there other advantages to IPv6 besides increased address space?

Not really. The main advantage of IPv6 is that it provides much more address space. Being a more recent protocol, IPv6 does have a few design improvements over IPv4, particularly in the areas of autoconfiguration, mobility, and extensibility. But really increased address space is the main benefit of IPv6.

If you run IT services what should you be doing now to get ready?

Plan for IPv6 as you would for any major service upgrade. Start with an Audit of your current IPv6 capabilities and readiness

Think about which of your services will lose business if they are only accessible to IPv4-users and make them a priority for IPv6 capability.




Frontier Networks Inc. is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario and provides Broadband Internet or MPLS, Voice lines or Cloud PBX (a replacement to old phone systems), cloud servers and colocation to Canadian Retail and Multi Site customers who demand world-wide coverage from a ‘new’ network. “We like to do traditional things in a non-traditional way”.  Frontier has built a network that connects to other networks. Think of them like a large ‘backbone’ of interconnected networks. They connect to every phone company, cable company, wireless and hydro/utelco in Canada and the US through a series of well-connected Points of Presence (POPs). Simply put ‘we don’t suck’.

See more at:

Follow Frontier @frontiernetwork

 Note (1): This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.