Rene Wilhelm

Members and Number Resources, One Year Later

Rene Wilhelm
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Last year, in a series of two articles, we presented statistics on the number of RIPE NCC members and the resources distributed to our members. With twelve months passed, we revisit the topic and look at how things evolved in 2010.


Last year, in a series of two articles, we presented statistics on the number of RIPE NCC members and the number resources distributed to our members. With twelve months passed, we revisit the topic and look at how things evolved in 2010.

Developments in membership

Figure 1 shows the age distribution of the RIPE NCC membership. As before, each bar represents the number of members (also known as Local Internet Registries or LIRs) who signed the contract to become a member in one specific quarter. Inside each bar, the different colors indicate the present status of membership: active (yellow), pending closure (orange) or closed (red). Growth continued to be strong in 2010. The number of members who signed up in the last quarter is almost as high as in the second quarter of 2008, before the start of the financial crisis. During the year 784 registries signed up. However, because of mergers and bad debts, a number of existing LIRs had to be closed. By year's end the net growth resulted in a total of 7167 active members.


Figure 1 - Age distribution of RIPE NCC membership

In the top 10 of countries, not much changed. Russia still has the largest number of members. France passed the Netherlands and is now 5th largest.

Mebership distribution country&region

Figure 2 - Membership distribution per country and region


IPv6 Address Allocations

With unallocated IPv4 addresses nearing exhaustion, it was good to see the number of IPv6 allocations continued to grow exponentially in 2010. A total of 834 new allocations were made, compared to 554 in 2009. Figure 3 shows demand for IPv6 addresses was especially high in the last three months: 344 of the 834 allocations were made during this time.

IPv6 allcocations per month Figure 3 - Number of IPv6 allocations per month

Another good sign is the growth in the number of LIRs holding an IPv6 allocation. As Figure 4 shows, the percentage of the membership with one or more IPv6 allocations increased from 25% in 2009 to 35% in 2010. The bump of LIRs holding exactly 4 IPv6 allocations is an artefact of the evolution of IPv6 allocation policies: Initially, the minimum allocation size for IPv6 address space was a /35. Later this was raised to a /32. LIRs who had received a /35 under the old policy, are entitled to have their allocation expanded to a /32. This is implemented by giving these LIRs 3 additional allocations of size /35, /34 and /33 respectively. Together with the initial /35 allocation these aggregate to a single /32. If we exclude these pioneers, only a very small number of members hold more than one IPv6 allocation.

IPv6 number of allocations 2010/2011 v2

Figure 4 - Number of IPv6 allocations per member

In terms of geographical distribution, the LIRs from Eastern Europe now account for a larger proportion of IPv6 allocations; their share went up from 22% in January 2010 to 25% in January 2011. However, in relation to the membership distribution (Figure 2), the region is still underrepresented in IPv6 allocations.

IPv6byRegion 2010+2011

Figure 5 - IPv6 address allocations by region


IPv4 Address Allocations

Figure 6 shows the rate of IPv4 allocations continues to grow. Ever since 2002, there is an upwards trend in the number of IPv4 allocations per month. All-time highs were set first in November and then in December 2010. The news of IANA's unallocated pool dropping below 5% in October 2010 may have prompted a number of LIRs to speed up their requests for IPv4 address space.


IPv4 allocations per month Figure 6 - Number of IPv4 allocations per month

In contrast to the number of IPv4 allocations, the total IPv4 address space allocated per month had started to show a downward trend in recent years. In the first three quarters of 2010 growth rates have stablised. But November and December 2010 broke with that trend. As you can see in Figure 7, the equivalent of almost one /8 (16 million IPv4 addresses) was allocated in just these two months.

IPV4 allocated space per month

  Figure 7 - Allocated IPv4 addresses per month (in /8 equivalents)


IPv4 Address Assignments

Last year we noted that, compared to the geographical distribution of the membership, Eastern European LIRs make more than the average number of direct IPv4 assignments to end users. This trend continued in 2010. Figure 8 shows how the individual assignments were distributed over the various countries on 1 January 2010 and on 1 January 2011.  As we can see, Ukraine, Russia and Poland all passed the United Kingdom. IPv4 assignments by country 2010+2011

Figure 8 - Distribution of direct IPv4 assignments

Like allocations, the number of IPv4 assignments per month shows, on average, a steady growth. But the peaks in November and December 2010 are not that much higher compared to the longer term trend.

IPv4 assignments per month Figure 9 - Number of IPv4 assignments per month

The number of IPv4 assignments has been exceeding the number of allocations for some years now. The average size of assignments is also increasing. Figure 10 shows rapid, exponential growth in the monthly totals of assigned IPv4 space. However, up to now, the total amount of addresses in direct IPv4 assignments is small when compared to IPv4 allocations. For example, from the 7.5 million IPv4 addresses which were allocated or assigned by the RIPE NCC in December 2010, only 285.000 (less than 4%) were direct assignments; the bulk of the addresses (96%) were IPv4 allocations.

IPv4 assignments per month
Figure 10 - Assigned IPv4 addresses per month (in /24 equivalents)


Autonomous System numbers

In 2010 a total of 2437 Autonomous System (AS) numbers were assigned. 1854 of these were 16-bit, the other 583 were 32-bit AS numbers. To put that in perspective, we had a total of 21.025 AS numbers in the RIPE NCC registry on 1 January 2011, 810 of which were the new 32-bit ASN.

After a number of years of steady growth, assignment rates of AS numbers appear to be leveling off. Figure 11 shows wide fluctuations from month to month, but on a longer time scale these average out.

  ASN assignments per month Figure 11 - Number of ASN assigned per month

The rates of AS number assignments per month are at a similar level as the number of assignments per month. This does not come as a real surprise. End users who want to be multi-homed typically request both an AS number and a direct assignment from the same LIR. Figure 12 shows the distribution of the ratio between the number of ASNs and the number of IPv4 assignments for all LIRs who have made more than five direct assignments. The large peak near the value of 1 is a clear sign that most of these LIRs perform as many ASN as IPv4 assignments.

ASN per IPv4 assignment

Figure 12 - Distribution Number of ASN per IPv4 assignment

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About the author

Rene Wilhelm is a senior research engineer in the R&D department at the RIPE NCC. Coming from a background in particle physics, Rene joined the RIPE NCC in 1996. His interests are in data analysis, routing, Internet measurements and visualisation.

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