Why Choose RIPE PI vs. PA IPv4 Addresses

11 July 2024

Provider Aggregatable (PA) and Provider Independent (PI) addresses each serve distinct purposes within internet addressing.

PA addresses are allocated by a Local Internet Registry (LIR), and designed to be aggregated. This aggregation reduces the complexity of routing tables, making the routing process more efficient. Because PA addresses are managed by LIRs, organizations using these addresses can benefit from streamlined routing and management, albeit with the trade-off that their IP address range is tied to their provider.

In contrast, PI addresses are rarer and offer more flexibility to end users. These addresses are assigned directly by a regional internet registry, RIPE NCC, rather than a local registry.

PI Addresses are Truly Independent

One of the key advantages of PI addresses is that they allow end users to maintain their IP address allocations independently of their internet service providers. This independence can be crucial for organizations that may change providers frequently or require a stable IP address range that isn’t tied to a single LIR’s allocation.

RIPE NCC No Longer Assigns New IPv4 PI Addresses

The rarity of PI addresses is particularly pronounced with IPv4 addresses. Due to the exhaustion of IPv4 address space, the RIPE NCC no longer assigns new IPv4 PI addresses. This scarcity makes existing IPv4 PI addresses highly valuable, as they provide a level of flexibility and autonomy that PA addresses do not. Organizations with PI addresses can avoid the complexities and potential costs associated with changing IP addresses when switching providers.

For end users, obtaining PI addresses without becoming an LIR is a significant benefit. Becoming an LIR requires a €1,000 Euro setup fee and €1,550 Euro yearly membership and administrative overhead that may not be feasible for all organizations. By obtaining PI addresses, these users can enjoy the advantages of a stable and provider-independent IP address range without the responsibilities and costs associated with managing an LIR.

Compare RIPE PA and PI

  • Provider Aggregatable (PA) Addresses
  • Allocated by a Local Internet Registry (LIR)
  • Designed to be aggregated
  • Efficient routing process
  • Common
  • Provider Independent (PI) Addresses
  • Assigned by a regional internet registry (RIR)
  • Maintain IP address allocations independently
  • Offer more flexibility
  • Finite and increasingly rare

In Short: RIPE PA and PA Addresses

The difference between PA and PI addresses lies in their aggregation capabilities and the level of independence they offer. PI addresses, particularly in the context of IPv4, are rare and valuable, allowing end users to maintain their IP addresses independently of their providers. This independence is a crucial advantage, especially as the internet continues to evolve and expand.


What is a Provider Aggregatable IPv4 Address?

An IPv4 address allocation by a Local Internet Registry (LIR), designed to be aggregated.

What is a Provider Independent IPv4 Address?

An IP address issued by a Regional Internet Registry (RIR) such as RIPE-NCC, that allows users to maintain their IP address allocations independently of internet service providers.

Why are Provider Independent IPv4 Addresses so valuable?

PI addresses are no longer issued by RIPE-NCC, and are becoming scarce. The flexibility they offer provides a lot of value, and avoids the fees associated of setting up a local internet registry.


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