Who owns my IP address?


20.03.24

*Today I'm going to give you a little historical tour, which will allow you to understand how the modern system of IP address management works. We will also learn how just two people on different continents became the founding fathers of the Internet, what problems IPv4 has and whether we need IPv6.

Brief History of IP Addresses

The concept of an IP address was developed back in the 1960s, during the time of the progenitor of the modern Internet, the ARPANET. This network is quite different from what a modern user might imagine. Computers of that period were characterized by high cost and large size, and also required specialized knowledge and skills for their use. Therefore, mainly, computing systems, had government organizations, institutions or large companies.

ARPANET initially used NCP (Network Control Protocol), which over time became unable to meet the growing needs of a rapidly expanding network. Therefore, in 1983 the transition to IP technology was made. One of the key roles here is played by Jon Postel, who contributed significantly to the development of TCP/IP and other protocols. Later these protocols formed the basis of the modern Internet. Therefore, Jon Postel is rightly called one of the founding fathers of the Internet.

*ICANN & IANA In the same year 1983 John Postel founded the IANA organization. This is a very important event, as IANA is to this day responsible for the allocation and distribution of all IP addresses and domain names.

In 1998, the US National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) creates a proposal to improve the technical management of Internet names and addresses. This led to the creation of the ICANN organization, which to this day is essentially responsible for the entire Internet. ICANN, in particular, leads the global coordination of IP addresses and domain names. In turn, IANA (as the base part of ICANN) performs the critical coordination functions necessary for the smooth operation of the Internet.

  • ICANN's first headquarters at the USC Information Sciences Institute (North Carolina).

Note that already in 1989, on another continent, namely at the CERN laboratory, the first web site was created. Another founding father of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee, was responsible for the creation of this Web site as well as the development of critical protocols such as http and WorldWideWeb (www).

How IP addresses are allocated

Over time, five regional internet registries (RIRs) were created. Each regional registrar is responsible for IP allocation in a specific geographic area.

Ripe (founded in 1989) - Europe, Middle East, part of Central Asia. Afrinic (founded in 2000) - Africa Apnic (founded in 1993) - Asia. Arin (founded 1997) - North America Lacnic (founded 1999) - Latin America.

It is interesting to note that most regional registries (RIRs) were originally founded as non-profit associations of scientists and enthusiasts at scientific conferences.

In simplified terms, the IP address allocation hierarchy is the following process: ICANN/IANA assign IP addresses to regional registrars, which in turn allocate them to state registrars and ISPs, after which IP addresses are distributed to organizations and individuals.

How many IP addresses are there?

According to ICANN and IANA conventions, an IP address is a 32-bit number, i.e. it consists of 32 binary digits (bits). Thus, there could theoretically be 2^32 (approximately 4.3 billion) unique IP addresses.

In the 1980s, when the IP address was first developed, this number of devices was quite substantial. However, with the development of the Internet, already by 2012 regional registrars and providers faced the problem of IPv4 exhaustion, when the number of free IP addresses became critically low. Therefore, regional registrars decided to release into free access only those IP addresses, which for some reason are no longer used.

However, this still does not solve the problem of IPv4 exhaustion completely, as the demand for IP addresses continues to grow. In this context, ISPs are forced to operate with a limited number of addresses and optimize the address space.

In the early 1990s, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) developed IPv6 with an address space of 128 bits, much larger than the 32 bits of IPv4. This makes it possible to operate with an almost infinite number of addresses. The aforementioned John Postel was the originator of this protocol. But this protocol also has its drawbacks, which we will discuss below.

Can my ISP give me a "nice" IPv4?

Alas, this is quite problematic. Yes, you can buy a dedicated IP, but you can hardly choose a specific address. This is due to the IPv4 exhaustion problem mentioned above. Besides, the operator can give you an IP address only from a limited pool, in accordance with the ICANN agreement.

Where to get fresh IPs?

As of today, there are no absolutely "new" (unused) IP addresses. There are so many devices connected to the Internet that Internet providers are "queuing" for unused IP addresses, which have fallen into the free pool of regional registrars. And the size of this pool is relatively small.

However, if you use proxies, and under the term "fresh" you mean "clean" IPs, I recommend you to take a closer look at the Detect.Expert service. Here you will find mobile and resident proxies with the lowest Fraud Score, high speed and UDP support.

Should I migrate to IPv6?

Although IPv6 eliminates address space limitations, its implementation has been dragging on for over twenty years. There are several challenges: - Connectivity and compatibility. Not all Internet applications work with IPv6. Therefore, a mechanism for transition or backward compatibility with IPv4 must be developed for its implementation. - Operational Challenges. A large number of IPv6 addresses will inevitably lead to increased load on ISPs' computing power. -Necessity of large investments*. Migration to IPv6 is a rather complex and costly process for providers and registrars, as it requires replacement of a significant part of hardware and software. It also requires implementation of security mechanisms in the network infrastructure, such as IPsec.

Note also the resilience of IPv4 to the problems encountered. ISPs and registrars over the years have found ways to ensure that they work with limited address space, for example by leasing IPv4, or using Network Address Translation (NAT) and Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR).

Conclusion

The IPv4 protocol was developed by a small group of scientists back in the last century. Although technology has evolved considerably, the IP address remains central to the operation of the Internet. The gradual transition to IPv6 and the existence of workaround solutions to maintain IPv4 operation indicate that future development of the Internet will require new approaches to addressing and security. This may stimulate the development and implementation of new technologies and protocols.

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