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Sunday, September 29 • 9:35am - 10:10am
In the Eye of the Beholder: The Role of Needs-Based Assessment in IP Address Market Transfers

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Objective: Prior work by the authors empirically describes the secondary market for IPv4 address resources (Mueller, Kuerbis and Asghari 2012). Initial results indicated that the Regional Internet Registries? (RIRs?) needs assessment policies introduce significant friction in the IPv4 secondary market and may be inconsistent with organizations? demand and planning time horizons. The objective of this study is to extend that prior work by finding out whether number blocks are being traded in an ?underground? manner in order to avoid RIRs? needs assessments, and also whether when the numbers sold in the secondary market that do go through needs assessments are immediately put to use, as the needs assessment is intended to enforce. This will provide greater insight to the role of administrative needs assessment policies in the IP address transfer market.

Hypotheses: We hypothesize that address blocks acquired in the secondary market after needs assessments are not necessarily more likely to be utilized (i.e., publicly routed). Such a finding would suggest that needs assessments retard the secondary market without bringing any compensating benefits such as reducing hoarding. Current policy debates in the RIRs are considering extending the time horizon of, or eliminating entirely, needs based assessment for transferred resources. This is similar to what occurred in spectrum secondary market in US, with the FCC putting aside cumbersome administrative evaluation processes in favor of expediting transfers.

We also hypothesize that some address blocks may be transferred under the table in order to avoid going through the RIRs needs assessments processes. Number blocks could be traded as 'leases' without involving a formal transfer that involved altering the RIRs? records. Our method (described below) could also detect changes in routing that are not reflected in changes in the RIRs? Whois records. If a significant amount of hidden transfers are taking place, it suggests that needs assessment policies not only do not serve a positive function, but create harm by providing incentives to bypass accurate registration records.

Method: By observing changes in the Internet?s routing topology archives and relating it to transfers data, the authors will create and analyze a new dataset describing the extent to which transferred address resources are being utilized in the Internet. Using a script, we loop over the legacy IP address space, checking the Autonomous System Number associated with tradable prefix blocks in every month of the period of study. The underlying routing data for these lookups comes from the Route-Views archives. The method employed is new and the subject matter (IPv4 secondary market) is relatively unexplored.


Sunday September 29, 2013 9:35am - 10:10am PDT
GMUSL Room 225

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