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How to Transfer IPv4 Addresses to a New Owner: A Comprehensive Guide

In the digital era, the demand for IPv4 addresses continues to surge, making their transfer an essential process for many organizations. Whether due to mergers, acquisitions, or the shift to IPv6, understanding how to properly transfer IPv4 addresses to a new owner is vital. This long-read aims to dissect the process, offering insights and practical advice to ensure a smooth and legally compliant transition.

Understanding the Process

Transferring IPv4 addresses is not as straightforward as it may seem. It involves various steps and adherence to specific regional internet registry (RIR) policies. Here’s a breakdown of the key phases:

  1. Ownership Verification: Sellers must prove their legal rights over the IPv4 block, typically by presenting certificates or purchase documents to their RIR.
  2. Dispute Resolution: It’s essential to ensure that there are no existing disputes or claims over the IPv4 block in question.
  3. Eligibility Check: Recently transferred or procured IP addresses may not be eligible for another transfer, usually within a year.
  4. Buyer Approval: Buyers need to justify their need for additional IP addresses to their RIR by detailing their current usage, growth rates, and specific reasons for needing more addresses.
  5. The entire process ensures that the transfer is transparent, legal, and adheres to the rules set by the regional internet registries.

The Challenge of Acquiring IPv4 Addresses

With IPv4 resources nearly depleted, acquiring additional addresses is becoming increasingly challenging. The limited supply and high demand have led to a rise in prices and made the acquisition process more complex, particularly when involving different RIRs. This market’s unregulated nature can lead to price inflation and potential scams, emphasizing the importance of due diligence.

The Workflow of IPv4 Transfer Process

Transferring IPv4 addresses involves intricate steps, from legal entitlement verification to ensuring the absence of disputes over the intended IP block. Both sellers and buyers face stringent criteria, including a cooling-off period where recently acquired addresses can’t be transferred again immediately.

Essential Steps in the IPv4 Transfer Process

StageRequirement for SellerRequirement for Buyer
Pre-TransferProve ownership; Ensure no disputesDemonstrate need for additional addresses
Transfer ProcessCannot have acquired or transferred IPs within the past yearObtain pre-approval from RIR
Post-TransferEnsure compliance with RIR policiesFinalize arrangements for IPv4 usage

Navigating Different RIR Policies

The transfer process can vary significantly between different regional internet registries (RIRs), each with its own set of policies and requirements. Understanding these nuances is crucial for a smooth transfer. Here’s how different RIRs manage the transfer process:

  1. AFRINIC: Allows intra-RIR transfers under specific conditions and requires that the transferring organization hasn’t received IPv4 resources from AFRINIC within the past year.
  2. APNIC: Facilitates both intra- and inter-RIR transfers and has a history of conducting IP resource transfers since 2012.
  3. ARIN: Operates a mature market with specific transfer policies ensuring rightful ownership and absence of resource disputes.
  4. LACNIC: Supports transfers due to mergers, acquisitions, and changes of names, along with intra- and inter-RIR transfers.
  5. RIPE NCC: Allows transferred resources within the region and has specific rules for Provider Independent (PI) resources transfers.

Security Risks in the IPv4 Transfer Market

The transfer market is not immune to risks such as blocklisting and hijacking. A study revealed that a significant portion of transferred resources were blocklisted due to malicious behavior. Ensuring the legitimacy and security of the transfer process is paramount to mitigate these risks.

Considering the Costs

IPv4 transfers can be costly, encompassing not just the price of the addresses but also additional fees including broker services and RIR charges. Prospective buyers and sellers must consider these factors carefully to ensure a cost-effective and successful transfer.

Alternatives and Future Considerations

For businesses in need of IPv4 addresses, alternatives include joining waiting lists at RIRs or opting for IPv4 leasing as an immediate but temporary solution. Each approach has its pros and cons, requiring careful consideration based on your organization’s specific needs and future plans.

Conclusion

The decision to transfer IPv4 addresses involves careful planning, a thorough understanding of RIR policies, and an assessment of your organization’s long-term needs. Whether you choose to lease or purchase, navigating the IPv4 market requires diligence, legal compliance, and strategic foresight.

Alexei Krylov Nikiforov

Sales manager

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