This year, the IPv4 Transfer Market has proven to become more volatile with each new month, seemingly mimicking trends of the global roller-coaster stock market. Large cloud companies, hosting providers and Internet service providers are continuing to purchase vast amounts of IPv4 address blocks from large enterprises. In turn, this is causing one-off /17 and /16 IPv4 subnets from other suppliers to sit in the market longer than usual, causing prices to stabilize and ultimately decrease. How does this affect the rest of the market?
As of November 2022, IPv4 Transfer Requests increased once again to 143 per month. Compared to October’s Transfer Requests of only 119, we have experienced a +16% increase. Contrary to 2022’s average of 134 Transfer Requests per month, this is a nominal increase of almost +7%. Most importantly, we are still down -10% as compared to the last 3 years, where we had seen an average of 160 Transfer Requests per month.
Historically, large enterprises were forced to quickly outbid and purchase all available /16s and 17s in the market due to scarcity and extremely rare availability of /15 and larger IPv4 subnets. This would leave smaller ISPs, cloud providers and hosting companies competing for the minimally available /16s, which had then caused the prices of IPv4 address blocks to increase.
Today, there seem to be much more /16s and smaller IPv4 subnets available. As with any market, a surplus in supply tends to create some heavy price resistance. The question now is, how long will this resistance last in the IPv4 Market?
Large cloud providers and ISPs purchased more IPv4 addresses in 2021 than in previous years, due to ample availability and lower-priced IPv4 address blocks. Thus far in 2022, there have been over 75 million IPv4 addresses transferred in the ARIN region. Compared to last year, when the total number was only 70 million. While smaller IPv4 address block transfers have taken a back seat this year, larger IPv4 address blocks continue to outpace previous years where IPv4 prices were greatly increasing.
Given the current circumstances, it is safe to say that we potentially have many more years of IPv4 being a key factor in developing global Internet infrastructure. With all of this in mind, it would be wise for any company that relies on IPv4 for their networks to stock up on IPv4 addresses now while prices are low and IPv4 availability is abundant. Based on IPv4 data from years past, we are likely to be in another IPv4 drought once again in 2023.