Those of you tuned in to Internet policy are surely aware of the upcoming meeting of an ITU group on IPv6 that will be discussing WTSA Resolution 64 – IP address allocation and encouraging the deployment of IPv6. Unfortunately, I have been extremely busy with some other far less exciting projects and have not found time to comment here about this development. More fortunately, the APNIC Community Consultation: IPv6 Address Management and ITU: Is an “additional parallel structure” required was completed earlier today alongside APRICOT 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (transcript [pdf]). After the panelist’s presentations and “extended comments from the floor,” it was suggested by James Spencely (APNIC Executive Council Member) that the group draft a text “outlining the community’s position for presentation to the ITU IPv6 Working Group.”
The statement hits on my two initial objections to ITU involvement quite succinctly: “The importance of an open environment” and that the “operational stability, security, and efficiency of the Internet relies on a single consistent address management framework.”
The World Wide Web and all other Internet applications have been able to flourish due directly to the very nature of the Internet’s development. That nature is Open, Transparent and Bottom-Up. This nature, this unique model is one of shared global ownership, development based on open standards, and freely accessible processes for technology and policy development and it is the major factor in the Internet’s success. I believe that it is vitally important for this model to be preserved and that means that IP address allocation must remain Open, Transparent and Bottom-Up – three things that the ITU is not.
A stable address management framework is absolutely necessary if we wish to have a stable, secure and effective routing system. The existing Regional Internet Registries have spent years gaining a deep understanding of IP address allocation and registration, the systems involved and the specific needs of the clients within their distinct regions. Even if two “competing” systems could somehow improve the situation, is the ITU equipped to take on this task? More to the point – would the removal of an exclusively hierarchical address allocation system help or harm the global Internet as a whole?
I will try to comment more completely before this ITU group on IPv6 meets, for now I leave you with the APNIC community consultation’s statement:
------------- Introduction ------------- IP address management is fundamental to ongoing Internet stability. Over the past decade the Internet has become fundamental to the world's economy. The Internet is truly global. What happens in one part of the world affects the rest of the world. So changes in IP address management could affect billions of devices globally, irrespective of the country where they are located. ------------------------------------- The importance of an open environment ------------------------------------- The Internet has become what it is today because of the open, transparent, bottom-up process used to develop the Internet's protocols and management policies. Everyone is encouraged to participate. RIR decision making has no barriers to participation. Anyone, including government, can have their say. This is made transparent by public archives of the decision making process, including mailing lists, video, and meeting transcripts. Risks of introducing a parallel address management system The operational stability, security, and efficiency of the Internet relies on a single consistent address management framework. The introduction of "competing" address management systems is not desired by network operators, and carries the strong risk of fragmenting address management policies, of fragmenting the Internet itself, and of compromising the Internet's security and stability. ----------------------- Equitable Distribution ----------------------- We note the equitable distribution of addresses is already in place in the current IPv6 management system and addresses are being deployed actively and effectively throughout the world at this time. Each RIR already has the same sized block to distribute to networks within their region. ----------------------- Actions ----------------------- 1. The proposal for a parallel address management system involves significant risks and therefore requires a clear problem statement, complete explanation of its details, and a thorough risk analysis of its consequence. The NAv6 paper satisfies none of these requirements. Therefore, the NAv6 proposal, the paper itself cannot be considered as a substantial basis for discussion at the ITU IPv6 Group's work. 2. Since concern about potential IPv6 exhaustion appears to be one of the fundamental concerns behind the ITU's studies into IPv6, we suggest that the ITU conduct a study on this. 3. We ask the ITU's IPv6 Group follow the example of the Internet community and the IGF process and make its documents and records available publicly, so that all Internet stakeholders can participate in deliberations which could have global ramifications. We ask ITU Member States and Sector Members to recall the Tunis Agenda's call for a multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance and call on the ITU to support the current multi-stakeholder system of address management.