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Verizon: We have plenty of IPv4 addresses

Carolyn Duffy Marsan | March 7, 2011
Verizon Business says it has enough IP addresses using the current version of the Internet Protocol, known as IPv4, to support its U.S. business and government customers as they transition to the next-generation standard, IPv6.

FRAMINGHAM 7 MARCH 2011 - Verizon Business says it has enough IP addresses using the current version of the Internet Protocol, known as IPv4, to support its U.S. business and government customers as they transition to the next-generation standard, IPv6.

"We're not running out of IPv4 addresses anytime soon," assures Jason Schiller, senior Internet network engineer with Verizon Business. "But we still think it's important to deploy dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6. We want to get a lot of IPv6 out there before the first organization is forced to go all IPv6."

Verizon won't say how many IPv4 addresses it has left, claiming that this information is "proprietary."

But Stephan Lagerholm, author of the www.ipv4depletion.com Web site and senior DNS architect at Secure64 Software, estimates that Verizon has received more than 19 million IPv4 addresses from the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) in the past three years. 

It's hard to say how fast Verizon will use up its share of IPv4 addresses, which are handed out as new customers or new devices join its networks. In its latest earnings call, Verizon said it added 955,000 net customers for its wireless services, 197,000 for FiOS Internet and 182,000 for FiOS TV during Q4.

John Curran, president and CEO of ARIN, says that no U.S. carrier really has "enough" IPv4 addresses. "They might have enough for 2011, but what about 2012 or 2013?" Curran asks. He points out that ARIN is only delegating IPv4 address space to carriers for needs they can demonstrate three months into the future to prevent hording of this precious Internet resource.

Verizon's share of IPv4 addresses is significant because the Internet is running out of IPv4 addresses and must migrate to IPv6. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) announced in February that the free pool of unassigned IPv4 addresses had dried up.

Created 40 years ago, IPv4 has a 32-bit addressing scheme and can support approximately 4.3 billion devices connected directly to the Internet. IPv6, on the other hand, features a 128-bit addressing scheme and can support vastly more devices -- 2 to the 128th power. Carriers and enterprises must upgrade their networks to support IPv6 because it is not backward compatible with IPv4.

Verizon says it is flush with IPv4 addresses at a time when other carriers around the globe are hurting. China Telecom recently said it will need 30 million IPv4 addresses in 2010 and that it only has 10 million.

Nonetheless, Verizon Business is encouraging its customers to deploy IPv6.

 

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