The Asia Pacific region is no longer able to meet IPv4 demand due to the unprecedented fixed and mobile network growth in the region, according to the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), the regional Internet registry for the Asia Pacific.

According to APNIC, operators in the Asia Pacific region are currently experiencing great demand for IP addresses and IPv4 exhaustion has activated a major change in regional delegation policy.

Under the Final /8 Policy, IPv6 is mandatory for building new Internet networks and services after this landmark event, and the remaining IPv4 space will now be 'rationed' to network operators. A maximum delegation of a /22 (1,024 addresses) of IPv4 space will be allotted to all new and existing APNIC Members who meet the current allocation criteria set by the Regional Internet Registry.

"Considering the ongoing demand for IP addresses, this date effectively represents IPv4 exhaustion for many of the current operators in the Asia Pacific region," said APNIC director general Paul Wilson. "From this day onwards, IPv6 is mandatory for building new Internet networks and services."

IPv6-enabled region

APNIC notes that it published daily updates on the status of the IPv4 pool, but there is no way to accurately predict IPv4 demand and the exhaustion date. If the organisations do not block IPv4 space, it will be very difficult for new network operators to connect to the Internet, even with large IPv6 address allocations available from APNIC.

The Final /8 Policy will conserve adequate space for new entrants to the regional and global market.

Wilson emphasised the importance for every stakeholder group to be involved in regional IPv6 deployment, because there are many different aspects to the project.

"We are well on the way to being the first 'IPv6-enabled region', but we have to keep the momentum strong. ISPs in the Asia Pacific must begin transition plans if they have not already done so," Wilson said. "IPv4 exhaustion has been identified as a key turning point for a long time, and it should come as no surprise. Any organisation that wishes to remain viable must push forward with their IPv6 deployment."