You may remember that our free pool of IPv4 address space depleted in September 2015. As a result, the IPv4 Waiting List policy is the only way an organization may request IPv4 addresses aside from the special purpose policies. (The two special purpose policies are the NRPM 4.10 Micro-allocations policy and the NRPM 4.10 Dedicated IPv4 block to facilitate IPv6 Deployment policy.)

Of course, organizations may also participate in the transfer market in order to obtain required IPv4 addresses. But for those seeking IPv4 address space via the waiting list, have you ever wondered where the IPv4 address space for making waiting list allocations comes from?

The Three Sources

Historically speaking, IPv4 addresses issued via the waiting list have come from the following sources:

The address space has been voluntarily returned.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Organizations have the option to return IPv4 address space to ARIN if they no longer have a need for it. We have information readily available on our website for anyone requesting to return resources to ARIN. One critical requirement is that an officer of the organization must sign and notarize an acknowledgement that the resources may be returned. This protects everyone involved and ensures that the address space is safe to reissue.

The address space was revoked following provisions in the Registration Services Agreement (RSA).

The most common reason we revoke address space is due to non-payment. For ARIN-issued address blocks, if the organization does not pay the annual fees we follow the terms in the Registration Services Agreement (RSA) to ensure that the resources are abandoned. There are several actions taken to ensure that the organization in question is provided every chance possible to avoid the resources being revoked. This involves multiple communications over a period of several months, as we want the current resource holder to have every opportunity to retain their rights to the IPv4 addresses in question.

While it is possible for resources to be revoked as a result of failure to follow other provisions of the RSA, it is far less common, and we note that ARIN does not presently revoke addresses for failure to update the Points of Contact (POCs), as there is not explicit community direction via policy to do so.

Note that ARIN does not revoke address space based solely on bankruptcy or otherwise non-responsive entities, as additional information is often necessary to determine appropriate disposition.  For similar reasons, we don’t revoke space simply because it has been reported to ARIN as part of a dispute

When additional address space is issued by IANA to ARIN.

On 1 March 2019, ARIN received the final disbursement of IPv4 addresses under the Global Policy for Post Exhaustion IPv4 Allocation Mechanisms by the IANA. We have been receiving addresses from this pool every six months for the last several years, and it is issued to customers immediately after we are notified of the allocation.

Going forward, the sources of IPv4 addresses to be issued to the waiting list is expected to remain the same, except that we do not expect IANA to make additional allocations, as the IANA IPv4 remnant pool has been depleted. However, this could change should IANA end up with additional IPv4 inventory in the future.

The Quarantine Process

We do have a “quarantine” process for IPv4 address space that has come back to us. For returned space, we normally hold it for six months and for revoked space due to non-payment, we typically  hold it for one year from the due date of the invoice.

The IPv4 address supply for the waiting list allocation is always fluctuating. By practice, we do not predict what space might be available in the future, and we remind those making requests that the waiting list remains an uncertain source of address space.

Written by John Sweeting – Senior Director of Registration Services, ARIN