Being an expert in the IPv4 market can bring about a lot of different questions from the people we work with. When you are new to IP addresses, there may be some basic questions that you need answered to fully understand what is happening. We’ve compiled a few of the most common questions we receive about IPv4 and have done our best to answer them.

Even if you are an expert in the industry, we hope that these questions can help you better understand where IPv4 is at right now as well as where the IP address market will move in the future.

How Many IPv4 Addresses are There?

When it comes to understanding the IPv4 market, one of the things that will help is knowing how many IP addresses there are left. Currently, IPv4 comes from a 32-bit pool size that contains 4,294,967,296 IPv4 Addresses. These 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses are the total amount for everyone, not just in the United State. However, the United States does have the most IPv4 with about 1.5 billion IPv4 addresses or roughly 5 per capita. The United States is also near the top in IPv4 address per capita, a  number with vast differences. The US has a thousand times the per capita addresses than Nigeria, for example.

How Many IPv4 Addresses are Left?

With about 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses, originally it was thought that we’d have plenty to go around. Unfortunately with the explosive growth of the Internet since it was designed, that isn’t the case. The IPv4 market continues to dwindle and may soon be exhausted.

Today except for the African registry AFRINIC, every other registry has exhausted their free pool of addresses and every change in address ownership is a result of a sale.

This doesn’t mean every owned address is in use. In terms of visibility in the global routing table, there are hundreds of millions of missing addresses, including many millions which belong to the US Department of Defense and other government agencies, and which were always kept off the public internet. 

What’s Next for IP Addresses?

As it currently stands, IPv4 is still a requirement for every internet user. However, moving forward there may be a switch from IPv4 to IPv6, but we aren’t there yet. IPv4 will continue to be the IP address protocol of choice for the foreseeable future.

When we do make the transition to IPv6, do not fret. There is plenty of IPv6 to go around. IPv6 is 128-bit pool that contains 340 trillion trillion trillion combinations. Yes, you read that correctly, “trillion trillion trillion”. When the times comes to move from IPv4 to IPv6, there will be no short supply, at least not right away!

If you find you have more questions about IPv4, the future of IPv4, or IPv6, you can reach out and talk with one of our experts. We have been in the business for over 30 years and can answer any questions you may have.