Yet more rearranging the deckchairs on t ... / 2012-09-18

2012-09-18 Yet more rearranging the deckchairs on t ...
Yet more rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic: The UK has an entire IPv4 /8 that it isn't using even leading to a petition: The DWP should sell its block of 16777216 IP addresses - HM Government e-petitions.

Just because something isn't routable and isn't subnetted doesn't mean it is not in use. Two comments on the original article put matters in a different light:
The 51.* addresses are in fact heavily used by DWP, but only internally. The best bit is this: for security reasons, there is a policy that in any communication, the leading octet of all such IP addresses must be redacted. Not like it's a matter of public record or anything.

I did once toy with the idea of printing out the XKCD map of the IP4 address space, write "you are here" on it and pin it to the wall near DWP data networks teams, but I didn't think it would go down well.
And someone else isn't interested in more rearranging of deckchairs either:
It doesn't matter, save your energy for converting to v6

There are few dregs like this around that though not visible on the internet are used - many large ISP have hijacked the unadvertised spaces for use behind their own NATs. You can't see them doing this but if you use the space on the internet you'll have problems with their customers.

If these spaces were recycled you'd spend many months trying to get them clean for use and then they'd be used up in a few weeks, we'd still be out of space and we'd have yet more to go back and convert to v6. People have been dragging their feet on v6 migration for eyars, they only have themselves to blame when they are stuck by v4 running out

tldr: It's allocated, it's not available, nothing to see here, move along.
Start implementing IPv6, put your effort in network protocols with a future.

Update 2012-09-21: Official documentation: the block is used fine, via NOT squatting on £1bn unused IPv4 addresses.

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