Asia-Pacific IPv4 addresses exhausted, IPv6 urgent

14:44, April 08, 2011      

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By the end of April this year, the allocation of Asia-Pacific IP addresses will be finished. How to transfer IPv4 to the next generation has become the focus.

China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, the three leading Chinese telecommunication operators, will deploy a test network based on IPv6 on a large scale, according to a report from the Beijing Morning Post on April 7.

Paul Wilson, president of the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), analyzed IP address conditions in Asia-Pacific Region and in China during the Global IPv6 Summit 2011 held in Beijing on March 7.

On Feb. 3, the last batch of IP addresses was allocated to Internet registries of all continents.

Wilson said the IPv4 addresses will reach exhaustion by the end of April. Although the APNIC still has a small amount of IP addresses, they will not allocate them on a large scale. These IP addresses will be used to meet urgent needs during the transitional period.

The allocation of these remaining IPv4 addresses will also be complete by the end of this year, said an official from the APNIC.

Wilson pointed that the urgent task at present is to complete the transfer from IPv4 to IPv6. Regarding the Chinese market's robust demands, the pressure on the shortage of IP addresses is especially obvious.

Mao Wei, the leading scientist under the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), said China's remaining IPv4 addresses will reach exhaustion before 2015. Although Chinese operators still own some IP resources, these IP addresses can only fulfill needs in the short term. It is understood that the charges for these IP addresses have risen rapidly.

According to sources, the operators will expand their input in IPv6 in order to build the test network.

China Mobile will launch a large test and build an IPv6 test base. Last year, China Mobile built a test network in central China's Henan Province, said an official from China Mobile.

In addition, China Telecom launched test work on IPv6 last year in China's Hunan Province, Jiangsu Province, Guangdong Province and Zhejiang Province. It will enlarge its test range this year. Meanwhile, China Unicom also accelerates its steps on IPv6 test network.

However, some experts think the launch of IPv6 is much easier said than done because it lacks market force. Others think the current network devices have been fit for commercial use, but the terminal support and services have not reached perfection.

Wilson suggested it is time to plan and there can be no more delays or many opportunities will be lost.


An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is usually a numerical label assigned to each device participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. The designers of the Internet Protocol defined an IP address as a 32-bit number and this system, known as Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4), is still in use today.

However, due to the enormous growth of the Internet and the predicted depletion of available addresses, a new addressing system (IPv6) using 128 bits for the address has been deployed worldwide since the mid-2000s.

By Ye Xin, People's Daily Online

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