IP Address Exhaustion - Address Depletion

Address Depletion

While the primary reason for IPv4 address exhaustion is insufficient design capacity of the original Internet infrastructure, several additional driving factors have aggravated the shortcomings. Each of them increased the demand on the limited supply of addresses, often in ways unanticipated by the original designers of the network.

Mobile devices
As IPv4 increasingly became the de facto standard for networked digital communication and the cost of embedding substantial computing power into hand-held devices dropped, mobile phones have become viable Internet hosts. New specifications of 4G devices require IPv6 addressing.
Always-on connections
Throughout the 1990s, the predominant mode of consumer Internet access was telephone modem dial-up. The rapid growth of the dial-up networks increased address consumption rates, although it was common that the modem pools, and as a result, the pool of assigned IP addresses, were shared amongst a larger customer base. By 2007, however, broadband Internet access had begun to exceed 50% penetration in many markets. Broadband connections are always active, as the gateway devices (routers, broadband modems) are rarely turned off, so that the address uptake by Internet service providers continued at an accelerating pace.
Internet demographics
There are hundreds of millions of households in the developed world. In 1990, only a small fraction of these had Internet connectivity. Just 15 years later, almost half of them had persistent broadband connections. The many new Internet users in countries such as China and India are also driving address exhaustion.
Inefficient address use
Organizations that obtained IP addresses in the 1980s were often allocated far more addresses than they actually required, because the initial classful network allocation method was inadequate to reflect reasonable usage. For example, large companies or universities were assigned class A address blocks with over 16 million IPv4 addresses each, because the next smaller allocation unit, a class B block with 65536 addresses, was too small for their intended deployments.
Many organizations continue to utilize public IP addresses for devices not accessible outside their local network. From a global address allocation viewpoint, this is inefficient in many cases, but scenarios exist where this is preferred in the organizational network implementation strategies.
Due to inefficiencies caused by subnetting, it is difficult to use all addresses in a block. The host-density ratio, as defined in RFC 3194, is a metric for utilization of IP address blocks, that is used in allocation policies.

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