Is IPv4 disappearing? Where is it going?

The situation is not as alarming as it may sound. Yes, IPv4 is a bit scarce and harder to find, but there are still ways to get hold of them. Inevitably everyone will make the big change and transfer to IPv6 but until then here’s how you can get the IPv4 you need.

How to transfer IPv4 addresses

At some point people thought that IPv4 are limitless and until recent years they didn’t think they would become extinct. As technology evolved so did the need of identifying and keeping track of all devices. To support the recently developed market and better manage it, regional organizations are now handling the allocation and registration of resources. The main organization is RIR, the Regional Internet Registry which is divided in several regional organizations: APNIC, ARIN, RIPE.

Even though transactions are mediated by these organization, the IPv4 market is dynamic and prices may differ from seller to seller. The easiest method of purchasing or selling IP addresses is through a broker that makes it easier for those who are not familiar with the process.

The role of brokers is to match buyers with potentials sellers depending on the requirements and budget. Once both parties agree on what they want they start the negotiations whose duration may differ depending on the price and the contractual terms they need to agree upon.

When big corporations are involved, there are several layers of approval before sealing the deal. Brokers are involved throughout the entire process and their role extends beyond the administrative one because they are also building trust in a process which does not involve any physical proof of the transactions, but requires transfers of huge amounts of money.

Another advantage when working with a broker is that they can also have the role of an escrow, which means that they will be in charge of the funds until the paperwork and the transfer process comes to an end and is approved by the RIR.

What about the administrative part?

The IP transfer process is not like buying and selling potatoes. It involves a through documentation which guarantees all transactions. The three main documents required by RIR are the Transfer Agreement, the Asset Purchase Agreement and the Non-Disclosure Agreement.

The Transfer Agreement needs to be agreed by both the buyer and the seller and it contains important information like which are the companies involved in the transaction and what IP addresses are transferred.

The Asset Purchase Agreement is a contract which the broker should provide unless the buyer has its own template. This is the document that requires the negotiation and involves another contract if the escrow is not the broker, but a financial organization like a bank.

After agreeing upon the APA both parties need to sign the Non-Disclosure Agreement which clarifies upon the confidentiality and details that should be kept private by both sides involved.

How long will this market survive?

As IPv4 addresses are transferred from one company to another, most of them have become recycled IPs which many organizations can no longer resell or reuse. Another aspect of this continuous transactions is that RIR has very strict policies and is always asking for motivation in order to analyze the real need of companies to get new IPs, before approving.

While the market is still profitable everyone is aware that at some point it will come to an end. The estimated time is 5 to 8 years in which the IPv4 addresses will still be transferred before switching to IPv6.

What is certain is that no one will escape IPv6 so the smart move would be to adapt the technology and infrastructure to the inevitable change.


This is our field of expertise, don’t hesitate to contact us for further information and we will guide you through the process.