ICG (and CCWG-Accountability) replied to NTIA’s May letter suggesting the IANA transition process could extend till June 2016 in best case scenario
Internet Protocol numbers (IP numbers) are unique numeric addresses that all devices connected to the Internet must have. Generally speaking, two devices connected to the Internet cannot have the same IP number.
The system for the distribution of IP numbers is hierarchically organised. At the top is IANA (the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority – whose functions are currently performed by the Public Technical Identifiers (PTI), an affiliate of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – ICANN), which distributes blocks of IP numbers to the five regional Internet registries (RIRs): AFRINIC, for Africa; APNIC, for Asia-Pacific; ARIN, for North America; LACNIC, for Latin America and the Caribbean; and RIPE NCC, for Europe, Middle East and parts of Central Asia.
The five RIRs coordinate their activities within the Number Resource Organization (NRO), which, among others, contributes to the development of global IP number policies (especially within the ICANN, where it acts as the Address Supporting Organization (ASO), tasked with reviewing and developing recommendations on IP address policy, and advising the ICANN Board in this regard). RIRs distribute IP numbers to the local Internet registries (LIRs) and national Internet registries (RIRs),which in turn distribute IP numbers to smaller ISPs, companies, and individuals further down the ladder.
The pool of IP numbers under IPv4, which was introduced in 1983, contains some four billion numbers, which were initially thought to be sufficient to satisfy the demand for addresses. However, in February 2011, IANA announced that it no longer had blocks of IPv4 available for allocation to RIRs. At regional level, four of the five RIRs have also exhausted their initial pools of IPv4 addresses: APNIC in 2011, RIPE NCC in 2012, LACNIC in 2014, and ARIN in 2015.
The depletion of IPv4 numbers has been accelerated, in recent years, through the introduction Internet-enabled devices (such as mobile phones, personal organisers, game consoles, and home appliances) and the rise of worldwide Internet connectivity. The developments in the area of the Internet of Things (IoT) also led to an increase in the demand for IP addresses. The concern that IP numbers might run out and eventually inhibit the further development of the Internet has led the technical community to take three major actions:
Rationalise the use of the existing pool of IP numbers through the introduction of Network Address Translation (NAT).
Address the wasteful address allocation algorithms used by the RIRs by introducing Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR).
Introduce a new version of the TCP/IP protocol – IPv6 – which provides a much bigger pool of IP numbers (over 340,000,000,000,000,000,000).
While both NAT and CIDR provided a quick fix for the problem of shortage of IP numbers, a more proper long-term solution is the transition to IPv6.
Although IPv6 was introduced back in 1996, its deployment has been rather slow, mainly due to lack of awareness about the need for transition, as well as limited funds for investment in new equipment in developing countries. Extended measurements of the Internet, performed by groups such as APNIC Labs, revealed that the global average level of IPv6 deployment was at around 7% at the end of 2016. Statistics also show significant differences between the degree of IPv6 deployment at national level. For example, Akamai data for December 2016 reveal that, while some countries IPv6 deployment rates at over 25% (e.g. Belgium, Greece, Switzerland, and the USA), others have not yet started implementing IPv6.
There are concerns that the slow transition to IPv6 can lead to a technical fragmentation of the Internet, into two-parallel internets – one IPv4 enabled and one IPv6 enabled – which can hardly interact with one another. Concerned about such risks, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) issued a statement in 2016 advising standards developing organisations to ensure that the networking standards they develop support IPv6 and are so written that they do not require IPv4.
While Internet technologies and standards allow some degree of coexistence between IPv4 and IPv6, mechanisms need to be implemented to ensure that IPv4 and IPv6 networks can properly communicate with each other, and they do not function as islands. The Internet Engineering Task Force has developed several specifications in this regard, outlining transition strategies, tools, and mechanisms.
Apart from the problem of transition, the policy framework for IPv6 distribution will require a proper distribution of IP numbers, demanding the introduction of open and competitive mechanisms to address the needs of end-users in the most optimal way. Even with the introduction of IPv6, an ‘artificial’ scarcity of IP numbers could still arise, if those responsible for allocating them at local level, such as ISPs, choose to abuse their power and link such allocation to, for example, the purchase of other services, thus affecting the availability and price of IP numbers.
The ongoing transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is a process that requires attention and involvement from a wide range of stakeholders. Technical organisations such as IANA, the RIRs, and the IETF need to ensure an efficient and effective administration of IPv6 resources, and to develop the necessary standards and specifications for the use of IPv6. ISPs have to both implement techniques that ensure communication between IPv4 and IPv6, and introduce IPv6 in their networks and services. Producers of equipments (operating systems, network equipment, etc) and applications (business software, smart cards, etc) need to ensure that their products and applications are compatible with IPv6. And providers of information society services have to implement IPv6 within their servers.
Security was not a major issue for the original developers of the Internet, as, at that time, the Internet consisted of a closed network of research institutions. With the expansion of the Internet to three billion users worldwide and its growing importance as a critical infrastructure, the question of security is high up on the list of Internet governance issues.
Unlike IPv4, IP security support (IPSec) is a required feature in IPv6, allowing authentication, encryption, and enhanced data integrity and confidentiality. However, despite these security enhancements, IPv6 raises new concerns, as poor implementation and misconfiguration can lead to security problems. In addition, there are concerns that IPv6 addresses could represent a risks for individual privacy, as every device connected to the Internet will have a unique identifier. One way to address such risks would be to have IP addresses assigned dynamically and changed occasionally.
To facilitate the delivery of multimedia content (e.g. Internet telephony, or video on demand), it is necessary to provide a quality of service (QoS) capable of guaranteeing a minimum level of performance. QoS is particularly important in delay-sensitive applications, such as live event broadcasting, and is often difficult to achieve due to bandwidth constraints. The introduction of QoS may require changes in the IP, including a potential challenge for the principle of network neutrality.
Given the continuous evolution of network technologies, and the challenges underlined above, organisations in the technical community have started looking into the possibility of developing a next generation of Internet protocols, that would be better suited to the realities of the evolving technical landscape. As an example, in early 2016, the European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI) established a working group tasked with ‘identifying the requirements for next generation protocols and network architectures’; the group is expected to analyse issues such as: addressing, security and authentication, requirements from the Internet of Things, requirements from video and content distribution, and requirements from e-commerce.
A series of short videos explaining several techniques that can be deployed to ensure interoperability between IPv4 and IPv6 networks.
The latest edition of glossary, compiled by DiploFoundation, contains explanations of over 130 acronyms, initialisms, and abbreviations used in IG parlance. In addition to the complete term, most entries include a concise explanation and a link for further information.
The book, now in its sixth edition, provides a comprehensive overview of the main issues and actors in the field of Internet governance and digital policy through a practical framework for analysis, discussion, and resolution of significant issues. It has been translated into many languages.
The paper outlines three possible forms of Internet fragmentation: technical fragmentation (infrastructure), governmental fragmentation (government policies constraining access to and use of the Internet) and commercial fragmentation (business actions that prevent access to and use of the Internet). Some of the identified 'top 10' cases of fragmentation are: failure to move to IPv6, blocking new gTLDs, filtering content, digital protectionism, prohibition on transborder data movement, and cybersovereignty.
The study reviews the economic rationale for IP allocation policies. It analyses, among others, the techno-economic characteristics of IP addresses and their interaction with routing, and outlines key questions about scarcity, routing and allocation policy.
The report, prepared by the Global Commission on Internet Governance, outlines a series of recommendations to policy makers, private industry, the technical community and other stakeholders on modalities for maintaining a ‘healthy Internet’. It tackles aspects such as: the promotion of a safe, open and secure Internet, human rights for digital citizens, the responsibilities of the private sector, safeguarding the stability and resiliency of the Internet’s core infrastructure, and improving multistakeholder Internet governance.
The report contains statistics about Internet connectivity and usage in the fourth quarter of 2015. It covers issues such as: Internet adoption rate and connection speeds, IPV4 counts, and IPv6 adoption trends.
The report provides an overview of the IPV4 market in the North American region; it also looks at the trends in IPv6 deployment.
The document, produced as part of the IGF 2015 inter-sessional work, explores different best practices that have been used in relation to increasing IPv6 adoption.
This educational track provided basic training on how the Domain Name System (DNS) works, by explaining who governs it and how it operates, and why it is important for the wider debates in the Internet governance ecosystem.
The session was led by Mr Peter Van Roste (General Manager at the Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries, (CENTR)) and Ms Alexandrine Gauvin (Communications Manager, CENTR).
Gauvin introduced CENTR as a forum for information exchange and dialogue among the country code top-level domain name (ccTLD) registries in Europe. Education and raising awareness about the DNS are important aspects of CENTR's work. She began the session by noting that the Internet is governed by the multistakeholder approach which gathers input from businesses, civil society, governments, research institutions, and non-governmental organisations.
Van Roste started off by explaining how data traffic travels along the network. Every device has an Internet Protocol (IP) address which is assigned to the it. The Public Technical Identifiers (PTI), which is part of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), manages the IP addresses globally, and allocates address pools to Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). The regional address pool in Europe is coordinated by the RIPE Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC). Van Roste further explained the difference between a static IP and a dynamic one (every device gets a new IP address when it connects to the network). He also noted the different IP versions now in use: IP version 4 (IPv4) and IP version 6 (IPv6). Since there is only a scarce number of IP addresses that can be assigned, the newer version provides for more combinations and thus for more devices to be online. However, the older IPv4 is still more used globally than the IPv6.
Van Roste further explained the concept of top-level domains (TLDs) and the two main types: ccTLDs, such as .de for Germany or .ge for Georgia, which are managed locally and serve local communities; Generic top-level domains (gTLDs), such as .com or .org, which are managed by registries on the basis of contracts concluded with ICANN.
Several main characteristics of the DNS were mentioned – decentralisation, hierarchy, stability, and layers. The DNS is hierarchical as it is organised in several layers that communicate with each other. For example, we have the rootzone maintainer (ex. PTI), the relevant TLD and its registry and registrars (ex. .eu and the EURid registry), and on the last level, the domain name registrant (ex. the European Commission as a domain name registrant for ec.europa.eu ).
Van Roste expressed his support for the ICANN multistakeholder model, in which every stakeholder group has a voice. Reference was made to the so-called ‘Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA) stewardship transition’, a process that led to the creation of a multistakeholder oversight model for the PTI (as opposed to the previous model in which ICANN managed the DNS on the basis of a contract with the US government).
It was also noted that the founding fathers of the Internet established the technical layer in such a way that neither a single organisation such as ICANN, nor the multistakeholder model, would decide about country codes. When it comes to the allocation of country codes to countries or territories, ICANN follows decisions takes at the United Nations level, and does not decide itself what constitute a country or a territory.
The two last points of the education track highlighted that most users globally do not know how this vital Internet component works, since it has for the last 30 years worked seamlessly. There was also a discussion on the practice of DNS blocking as a content policy measure. For example, in case of a court order or a governmental decision to prohibit access to certain websites, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are asked to re-direct users from the blocked websites to other webpage indicating the reason for the blocked access. This practice cannot fully stop users from finding another way to access those websites, but it can cause distrust in the DNS and Internet services. This is why DNS blocking is not a proper solution and should only be used as a last resort mechanism, it was argued. The DNS relies on the trust of the users, and Van Roste invited the audience to learn more about this core component which makes the Internet as we know it today.
The document provides a comparative overview of policies across the five Regional Internet registries (AFRINIC, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC and RIPE NCC). Some of the addressed policies include: allocations and assignments of IPv4 and IPv6, allocations and assignments of Autonomous System Numbers (ASNs), recovering unused resources, database - registration, reverse DNS, etc.
The document provides a comparative overview of policies across the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs): AFRINIC, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC, and RIPE NCC. It includes, among others, information on policies related to the allocation and assignment of Internet Protocol Addresses (both IPv4 and IPv6) and autonomous system numbers.
The document contains a series of proposals aimed to transfer NTIA’s current stewardship role over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the global multistakeholder community. It is composed of three distinct proposals, from the three communities directly affected by the transition: the domain names community, the numbering resources community (mainly the Internet Regional Registries responsible for the regional allocation and management of IP addresses), and the protocol parameters community (represented by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB)).
The tutorial is aimed to provide basic information about IPv6 to interested individuals (university graduates, network administrators, etc.). It consists of three modules: Introduction to IPv6; Understanding IPv6 Addresses; and Protocol, Neighbor Discovery, and SLAAC.
The accountability proposal outlines a series of recommendations aimed to make ICANN more accountable to the global Internet community. It is complementary to the proposal on the transition of the stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration to the global multistakeholder community.
The guide is intended to provide an introduction into IP addresses, explaining things such as: what an IP address is; the history of IPv4 and IPv6; the distribution of IP addresses; the policy development processes for the allocation of IP addresses, etc.
A collection of number resources-related statistics provided by RIPE NCC. It includes stats on the allocation and availability of IPv4 and IPv6 resources.
A collection of statistics for Internet number resources in the LACNIC region. It includes IPv4 and IPv6-related stats.
The webpage provides up-to-date statistics about IPv6 adoption in the Internet, as collected by Google.
A collection of statistics for Internet number resources in the ARIN region. It includes IPv4 and IPv6-related stats.