This week LACNIC, the regional internet address registry for Latin American and the Caribbean, announced that it has now moved to “Phase 3” of its plan to dispense with its remaining stockpile of IPv4 addresses, meaning that only companies who have not received any IPv4 space whatsoever are now eligible. This means that the entirety of Central and South America now has only 4,698,112 public IPv4 addresses remaining for allocation, a supply expected to be exhausted by the end of the year at the absolute latest.
Fellow registries APNIC (Asia-Pacific), RIPE (Europe-Middle East), and ARIN (North America) are also in the same boat, leaving the African registry AFRINIC as the only regional authority with any appreciable supply remaining thanks to the continent’s vastly underdeveloped internet, and even so it has already warned that its supply will run out by 2019 rather than 2020 as originally expected.
In an ideal world, this news would of course accelerate plans to move over to IPv6, but as many businesses are finding out to their peril, the switchover is not quite that simple. Microsoft themselves attempted to implement an IPv6-only environment at the head office in Seattle and inadvertently discovered that one of their own flagship products, Azure Active Directory, was not compatible with the protocol. Fortunately for them they were able to contact the router manufacturers directly and work with them to implement a bespoke fix, but smaller businesses across the world who lack such clout may well find themselves out of luck. Questions raised as to why the Internet Engineering Task Force, assigned the duty of developing the successor to the ailing standard, decided not to make it backwards-compatible, have been met with silence.