IPv4 Waiting List Explained

6 min read
23 August 2022
Beatričė Raščiūtė

What is an IPv4 waiting list? How does it work and who operates it? Is there a way to get IP resources without joining a waiting list? Uncover all answers in this post.

A sand clock next to an IPv4 waiting list.

Do you need Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses for your business? Unfortunately, due to the explosion of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and the global network growth, you might no longer easily receive the IPs you need. One of the remedies to this issue is to join an IPv4 waiting list introduced by your Regional Internet Registry (RIR).

In this article, we explain what the IPv4 waiting list is and how it can help you acquire multiple addresses you need. But what if you have already submitted your request for IPv4 addresses and have been waiting in the queue a long time? 

Perhaps you are tired of waiting and are looking for other ways to get the desired subnet? Continue reading to learn what other options the market offers.

What is an IPv4 waiting list?

An IPv4 waiting list is a way for organizations and businesses to acquire IP addresses from their Regional Internet Registry. Well, why do we need an IPv4 waiting list at all? In short, due to IPv4 exhaustion, internet registries no longer give out IPs to just anyone that needs them.

Some RIRs have implemented a waiting list system to continue allocations despite the scarcity of the valuable resource. They regularly recover small amounts of IP addresses from their region members. For example, some may go out of business, close down or no longer require the resources. 

However, it is hard to predict how many unused addresses can be recovered and when exactly internet registries can make distributions. Also, RIRs may have a difficult time recovering unused IPs from some companies. That is because they may not care about IPv4 scarcity and choose to hold onto dormant assets for no reason.

Ready to wait for IPv4 allocations for months or years?

In the worst-case scenario, the allocation might not occur for months or even years because RIRs, for example the Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Center (RIPE NCC), cannot give any guarantees about the waiting time. Therefore, joining a waiting list certainly is not the most attractive option to quickly acquire IPv4 addresses, unless you are willing to wait. 

And wait you must. For example, those who join the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) waiting list can expect to wait for an allocation for well over six months. At the time of publication, the first request in ARIN’s waiting list was added on January 11, 2022, and the next distribution date was set for October 3.

According to the calculations of the Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Center (LACNIC), at the time of publication, the last member who had requested addresses might have to wait to receive resources until 2027.

Five people in line of a RIR waiting list.
An IPv4 waiting list operated by a Regional Internet Registry

Unfortunately, the small pool of recovered IP space cannot satisfy the ever-growing demand for the IPv4 commodity. Large companies, such as hosting providers, telcos or IoT businesses, need thousands of IPs to support their operations. More often than not, these companies start searching for alternatives. 

How does an IPv4 waiting list work?

Regional Internet Registries manage waiting lists; however, not all RIRs have waiting lists. Continue reading to find out which registries have introduced waiting lists and what requirements they impose.

The role of a Regional Internet Registry

Only three of the five RIRs have created waiting lists for companies to join and wait for IPv4 address block allocations. LACNIC, RIPE NCC and ARIN have introduced IPv4 waiting lists.

Each RIR has a different number of requests in waiting lists for IPv4 allocation. For example, at the time of the publication, ARIN had 431 requests for IPs. The ARIN waiting list table is regularly updated once the RIR processes assignments or a new company joins the queue. In August 2022, RIPE NCC and LACNIC had more requests in their lists: 968 and 879 (Waitlist section) requests, respectively.

LACNIC RIR and ARIN RIR accept requests for /22, /23 and /24 blocks, while RIPE RIR only supports /24 allocations. Unfortunately, /24, /23 and /22 are relatively small blocks. They carry only 256, 512 and 1024 IPs, respectively. This modest selection of internet resources, of course, cannot satisfy the demand from the companies that require large amounts of IPs. 

Requirements to receive IP addresses via a waiting list

Companies that want to wait in the queue to receive their IPs must meet the policy requirements of each RIR. For example, according to ARIN, RIPE NCC and LACNIC policies, only members, or Local Internet Registries (LIR), of each registry can submit IPv4 requests. For example, internet service providers often have an LIR status.

Moreover, RIPE NCC, ARIN and LACNIC allow a single organization to have only one request on the IPv4 waiting list. Why? This ensures that all companies have equal chances of receiving the addresses they need.

A warning sign on a laptop that you have already joined an IPv4 waiting list once.
Regional Internet Registries allow joining a waiting list once at a time

Interestingly, according to LACNIC’s requirements, to receive IPs via an IPv4 waiting list, the organization must have been assigned IPv6 resources as well. This is how LACNIC encourages members to facilitate the adoption of IPv6 or run a dual-stack network.

It is important to note that as per RIPE NCC and LACNIC policies, only LIRs that have never received an IPv4 allocation from these registries can join the waiting list and request IPv4 addresses. Selective allocations ensure a more sustainable and fair distribution of IPv4 addresses, which encourages companies to use their resources responsibly.

Another interesting thing is that when all three RIRs recover unused IPv4 address blocks, they hold on to them for a quarantine period of around six months. During this period, RIRs take steps to ensure that the recovered resources are no longer tied to the previous holder and are considered a new IP address space.

Can waiting lists be avoided?

An IPv4 waiting list is just one solution for those affected by the scarcity of IPv4 addresses. The bad news is that if you join the queue and wait for an allocation of the IP address space, you may need to wait a long long time to receive what you need.

Of course, you may start implementing IPv6 to decrease dependency on IPv4 addresses. However, a successful deployment may be complicated due to various limitations, like hardware compatibility issues and a high adoption cost. So, what else is there for companies that need IPv4 addresses to do to ensure the continuity of their services?

The top benefit of IP leasing: Immediate access to IPv4

IP leasing offers incredible benefits. For one, a significantly quicker solution for businesses that require IPv4 addresses for their operations. If you decide to lease IPv4 addresses, you don’t need to stand in the line of your Regional Internet Registry’s IPv4 waiting list in the hopes of getting the IP block you need.

Thanks to the IPXO Marketplace – a fully automated IP address lease and monetization platform – acquisition of IPv4 addresses can be smooth and quick. Almost any organization can create an account on the platform and access leasing benefits immediately

What’s even better is that companies don’t need to be members of their registries to lease IPs via IPXO. And there is no need to go through complicated membership procedures. Plus, in most cases, you don’t need to contact your RIR to lease IPv4 addresses. So, you can be efficient with your time. The time you’d spend on back and forth communication.

Another important benefit of leasing is that companies that choose to lease are not limited about how many IPs they can access. Whether you need a single /24 block or 10 of them. Whether you want to lease a smaller block or a larger one (e.g., /15). You can lease as many IPs as you want.

Furthermore, the IPXO platform has a waiting list functionality. It enables companies to submit requests for specific subnets that are not yet available on the Marketplace. The best part is that you might not need to wait a long time to receive the exact resources you need because new IP holders join and put up new resources for lease regularly.

My Waiting List menu on the IPXO Portal.
My Waiting List in the IPXO portal

There is no need to wait

Regional Internet Registries are doing an important job in alleviating the scarcity of IPv4 addresses. With the implemented IPv4 waiting lists, RIRs allow their members to request internet numbers. Unfortunately, even though internet registries accept requests, they might take a long time to fulfill them.

Sadly, RIRs that manage the recovery of unused IP addresses do not know when and how much resources they will be able to put up for allocation. Also, RIRs do not offer a wide selection of IP block sizes to choose from. Therefore, companies can only get a modest amount of IPs while they might need thousands of unique internet identifiers.

The good news is that IP leasing offers a more time-efficient, flexible and convenient alternative to a waiting list. Companies don’t need to submit requests and wait months to receive the required number of IPv4 addresses.

Ultimate Guide to IP Lease for IP Lessees

Discover how to lease IPs and maximize your business potential

The IPXO platform helps you quickly get the resources you need. And it offers a wide selection of subnets from all internet registries and from various geolocations. This ensures that you can access as many IPs as you need from anywhere you want.

The fully automated platform simplifies the leasing process allowing you to go through the steps quickly and independently. If you want to discover more on how to start leasing, read our IPXO platform walkthrough guide. Still not sure how to lease? Book a demo and see our platform and services in action!

About the author

Beatričė Raščiūtė

Technical Content Writer

Beatričė is a Technical Content Writer at IPXO. Having experience in translations, she decided to test new waters in the tech industry as a writer. While creating content, she dives deep into different internet and networking topics with the goal to present valuable information in the most reader-friendly way.
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