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In a world where connectivity is no longer a luxury but a necessity, the digital divide remains a stark reality for many communities. The emergence of the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, a groundbreaking initiative with a budget of $42.45 Billion, promises to reshape the landscape of internet accessibility, economic empowerment, and educational advancement for underserved areas across the nation.

The theme of today’s blog is…. let the good times keep rolling. The IP market is heating up and we are finally beginning to see a very positive trend in IPv4 address demand. The new baseline has changed over the past 4 months and is close to the consistency we have seen in the past when IPv4 prices were constantly on the rise.

In the world of technology, connectivity has always been an essential aspect of daily life and business operations. Over the past decade, internet usage has skyrocketed, and with the increasing demand for data, IPv4 addresses, and their limitations have become a challenge. IPv6 was introduced as a potential solution, but is it ready to replace the aging IP standard protocol or are there better alternatives?

After what seems to have been the longest bear market in IPv4 History, we are starting to see signs of life again. Aside from February of this year, 2023 has shown positive IPv4 demand trends with no signs of extreme volatility. Most noticeably, the last 3 months have demonstrated a much more stable demand trend. Let’s dive into demand trends and then determine how it will affect the remainder of 2023.

Once again, the IPv4 demand seems to be following the roller coaster pattern going up and down every month.  However, the delta of the demand decrease in April seems to be showing a positive sign as compared the previous dips over the last 6 – 9 months.

The IPv4 transfer marketplace twists and turns continue to pave the way for what might be an unpredictable year. The last 12 to 15 months have demonstrated a whirlwind of changes, in what was an otherwise a predicable asset class for over 5 years prior.  As we look to the future, we can only hope to expect more predictability we had grown accustomed to from the inception of the IPv4 market.

The six years leading into 2022 have painted a picture of a continuous bull market in the IPv4 industry.  Prices for IPv4 address blocks had an average increase of around 25% every year due to limited availability and increased demand. However, this year has proven that even the IPv4 market can’t always be resilient to economic conditions. 

What are BGP Routing Records? Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is a protocol that allows for the fastest and most efficient routing of internet traffic.   The owner of an IPv4 Address subnet asks their upstream internet service provider to route specific IPv4 subnets now smaller than a /24 to route traffic using the best method of delivery.  BGP is responsible for assessing all of the available internet routes that data can travel and then choose the best option, which usually means hopping between Autonomous Systems (AS) numbers that represent the upstream internet providers network.

We are finally seeing some good news on the IPv4 demand front.  As of September 2022, we have 2 months in a row of positive IPv4 demand trends that parallel previous years, prior to the IPv4 crash in May of 2021.  We aren’t out of the woods just yet, however, the indicators could be great for the remainder of the year.

So far, 2022 has shown a stable yet low level of IPv4 demand as compared to the previous three years.  This is largely attributed to a massive increase in demand and the shortage of IPv4 inventory back in 2021, which in turn caused the prices to increase by 100% in just 1 year.