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Remaining IPv4 Addresses to be Redistributed to Regional Internet Registries | Address Redistribution Signals that IPv4 is Nearing Total Exhaustion

ICANN announced today that it has begun the process of allocating the remaining blocks of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses to the five Regional Internet Registries (RIR). The activation of this procedure was triggered when Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre's (LACNIC) supply of addresses dropped to below 8 million.

This move signals that the global supply of IPv4 addresses is reaching a critical level. As more and more devices come online, the demand for IP addresses rises, and IPv4 is incapable of supplying enough addresses to facilitate this expansion. ICANN encourages network operators around the globe to adopt IPv6, which allows for the rapid growth of the Internet.

"We are grateful for the guidance we've received from the RIRs as the number of unallocated IPv4 addresses dwindles," said Elise Gerich, Vice President of IANA and Technical Operations at ICANN. "This redistribution of the small pool of IPv4 addresses held by us ensures that every region receives an equal number of addresses while we continue to work with the community to raise support for IPv6."

To handle this critical drop in the numbers available to LACNIC, the five RIRs' policy making communities established a policy for the equal redistribution by ICANN. This is known as the allocation phase outlined in the Global Policy for Post Exhaustion IPv4 Allocation Mechanisms.

"The IANA IPv4 Recovered Address Space registry contained about 20 million IPv4 addresses earlier today and is now about half that size," said Leo Vegoda, Operational Excellence Manager at ICANN. "Redistributing increasingly small blocks of IPv4 address space is not a sustainable way to grow the Internet. IPv6 deployment is a requirement for any network that needs to survive."

IPv6 facilitates the exponential growth of the Internet by providing 340-undecillion unique addresses, compared to the 3.7 billion afforded by IPv4.

"To continue to fuel the economic growth and opportunity that is brought by the Internet, we are at the point where rapid adoption of IPv6 is a necessity to maintain that growth," said Gerich.

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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."