NIC Mexico to stop issuing IPv4 addresses in 2011

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I just saw this announcement, even though it's a few months old. It claims that

...from January 1st, of 2011, NIC Mexico will not be able to allocate anymore IPv4 addresses and will only assign IP addresses in version 6 of the Internet Protocol (IPv6).

This is just wrong. I have to hope that the English translation of this press release is inaccurate.

It is currently estimated that the IANA pool of IPv4 addresses will be exhaused in late 2010. On that day, it will not be the case that every publicly routable IPv4 address will be allocated. IANA allocates IPv4 address prefixes to the Regional Internet Registrars (RIRs). Mexico belongs to the Latin American and Caribbean NIC (LACNIC). When the IANA pool is depleted, LACNIC will be unable to go to IANA to satisfy IPv4 requests from its members. It will have to make do with whatever addresses it has in its own pool. RIRs are expected to maintain sufficient size in their address pools to satisify 18 months of address requests.

As of this writing, Geoff Huston at APNIC estimates that IANA's pool will run out on September 27, 2010, and that the RIRs' pools will be depleted about a year after that. So, NIC Mexico's assertion that as of January 1, 2011, it will be unable to satisfy IPv4 requests seems silly provided that LACNIC is maintaining sufficient free addresses in its pool. NIC Mexico's announcement is especially ironic given that their web and mail servers are only accessible over IPv4 (so their new IPv6-only customers will be unable to contact them). Also all of the authoriative nameservers for the .mx domain are IPv4-only. It seems that NIC Mexico need to get its own house in order before issuing grandiose proclamations.

The IPv6 transition plan calls for nodes to be dual-stacked. That is, they have to have both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. Once a sufficient number of hosts have enabled IPv6, only then can we think about turning off IPv4. It's shortsighted for NIC Mexico to announce that they won't allocate IPv4 after 1/1/2011. All they will accomplish is creating a heap of pain for telecom providers in Mexico by prematurely cutting them off from the IPv4 Internet.

Most customers don't care about IPv6. It's the job of the RIRs to make them care. Customers want IPv4. They have to go the RIRs to get v4 addresses. If the RIRs try to cut them off, frankly, the RIRs will have given up their power (since they will no longer give customers what they want). Customers will likely look elsewhere for the v4 addresses, such as buying already allocated v4 addresses from other entities in LACNIC's region, or by deploying complex multi-level NATs.

This approach seems good intentioned, but too heavy handed. It's best to work with your customers, not beat them with a large stick and expect them to say "thank you."

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