Address administration in IPv6
As the Internet begins to enter the popular scope, portending large scale changes in how society will operate, important questions have emerged regarding issues of fairness and responsibility with respect to several aspects of the base Internet architecture.
The questions are many, and all have cumbersome legal, financial, and cultural ramifications. We focus here on only one: the addressing model. Addresses are the technical cornerstone of the Internet's ability to move data from sender to any connected receiver. The shape of the address space ultimately determines the effective scalability and constrains the financial model of the network. We contrast two models of address assignment, provider and geographic based, expanding on Tsuchiya's analysis, and explore their ramifications.
One difficulty in discussing address space is that although its effective use is essential for the technical feasibility of Internet operation, the ownership of address space and the responsibility for justifying its use remain ill-defined. There are several revealing analogies in other spheres, e.g., spectrum assignment and international telephony. Like spectrum bands, IP address space is a finite and contended resource that requires careful assignment and management. We note also that it has been, and continues to be, particularly challenging for regulatory bodies to create and enforce equitable and consistent policies for spectrum allocation.
Internet addressing policy must be constructed out of a careful balance among:
- service requirements of end users
- base technology of the network
- cost effectiveness of service provision
- ability of providers to regain infrastructure costs
- use of the Internet as a fundamental technology of society as a the phone system
Although the IETF has entertained discussion of addressing policy including all of the above issues, the Internet has reached a stage of maturity and breadth of scope that requires wider debate of these issues.