IP address musings

My alma mater is Kingston University. One thing I can remember from both working and studying there is their IP address range. KU happens to have a /16 network. They own (according to RIPE and my own memory)

inetnum: –
netname: KING-AC
descr: Kingston University
descr: Information Services
descr: Kingston-upon-Thames
descr: Surrey

WHOIS of range

This is an incredible number of IP addresses, much more than a university needs or most other organisations. To put that subnet mask of /16 into perspective, that gives KU a total of 65,534 usable IP addresses. I can tell you for a fact they don’t have that many students, and even if they did they don’t all need a real public IP in their halls of residence.

And i’m not picking on KU. It’s the same for many organisations and uni’s around the world. It’s just the uni I graduated from and I had a memory of their vast estate of IP addressing and I wondered if it was the same today in 2020 and it is. But it’s not unique to KU at all, other uni’s around the globe have been issued ridiculous subnet masks too giving them vast swathes of the IPv4 landscape.

Now I know, IPv6 is going to save the day. But let’s just say that we’ve been saying that since the mid er, naughties? (2005 ish) and we’ve officially run out of IPv4 address space on well, a couple of occasions but it’s really definately 100% true this time.

So in this day in age, when IPv6 is still shunned by many organisations (including my ISP Virgin Media) shouldn’t some of these vast estate holders consider giving back some of that address space to people who need it, like ISPs ?

Take KU again as an example, they could easily give up 60,000 (ok yes yes it’s just a random number, not obeying subnet masks) of their IPs and live with a paltry 5,534 (which is still way beyond the number they really need) and an ISP could then suddenly support another 60,000 internet subscribers without having to do all kinds of horrible CGNAT stuff.

Reasonable argument ? or ?

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