Untapped revenue can generate profits

Find your extra or unused IPv4 addresses with a reclamation process that locates these IP addresses and helps with their potential sale

by Robbie Harrell, Director - Network & Cloud Consulting - AT&T Consulting

Your organization may be sitting on untapped revenue. Not a bad problem to have, right?

If you have unused or extra IPv4 addresses you could sell them as market demand for this diminishing supply increases around the world.

What is an IPv4 address?

For those not immersed in the nitty gritty of the internet’s internal machinery, here’s a simplified look at what’s going on.

Simply put, every device connected to the internet has a numerical address. Think of it as real estate on a large island.

This real estate, known as Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), has been in place since the beginning of the internet. It uses 32 bits of information to create unique addresses for each device on the web. In our island metaphor, that means IPv4 can accommodate up to 4 billion plots of land—or addresses.

Why IPv4 addresses are valuable

The price of real estate, like any other commodity, fluctuates based on supply and demand. At the beginning of the internet and for several years thereafter, 4 billion possible addresses of web real estate seemed like plenty (APNIC). Now, however, they’ve all been assigned, and companies often have surplus addresses they don’t know about that can be sold.

Why are there unknown, unused addresses out there?

In the 80s and 90s, before people knew this internet thing was going to take off, blocks of IP addresses initially only came in three sizes: 16 million, 65 thousand, or 256. So, for example, an organization that needed 5,000 addresses was allocated 65,000 instead (Ars Technica). Now, IP address allocation requests are strictly evaluated, but in the early days, all a company (or individual) had to do was ask. So, companies may have inventories of forgotten, never-used IPv4 addresses.

Or companies may also have retired devices and assets with addresses no longer in use and laying fallow.

Finally, businesses moving from IPv4 to IPv6 or to cloud-based resources as part of a larger technological transformation may find themselves with unused IPv4 addresses.

What is IPv6?

Just so you know, IPv6 is part of the answer to the IPv4 real estate problem. In our island metaphor, if IPv4 and its 32-bit system represents addresses to plots of land with single-story structures, well, we’ve run out of room on the island for any more buildings.

However, IPv6 is based on a 128-bit addressing scheme (instead of the original 32-bits) to create new, unique addresses. That will allow for 340 trillion trillion trillion IP addresses. (And that’s not a typo where I accidentally typed “trillion” too many times.) Back to our metaphor, that’s like going to our single-story structures and building skyscrapers over them—creating an exponential amount of new, available real estate.

But today, IPv4 is still used to route most traffic (Wikipedia).

How you can get paid

All of this leads to you. Enterprise businesses and the federal government are sitting on potential revenue—and may not even know it. If you have unused, unnecessary IPv4 addresses, you can sell them for up to $50 per address.

You get revenue and clear the way for network modernization. Your buyers get a supply of scarce IPv4 addresses to support the rapidly growing number of internet users, mobile devices, and continually active broadband connections, such as routers and broadband modems (Wikipedia). You can do this through IP address reclamation.

What is IP address reclamation?

IP address reclamation is the process of identifying, clearing, and selling an organization’s unused IP addresses. Organizations may seek out IP address reclamation as part of a larger digital transformation initiative that involves moving to another IP address system, such as  migrating from IPv4 to IPv6. The often unstated primary reason businesses may look to IP address reclamation is to capture untapped revenue.

Why AT&T Consulting for IP address reclamation

It’s no easy task to identify unused addresses or active addresses that require updates. AT&T Consulting has unparalleled expertise in guiding our customers through this process. We will help you map your current IPv4 addresses, identify those that aren’t being used, and sell them. We can even help you modernize your network by converting IPv4 addresses to IPv6. And as a rule of thumb, you’ll pay less than 4% of the overall value of the recovered IP addresses in the form of fees to AT&T Consulting.

Find out how AT&T Consulting can help your organization generate untapped revenue with IP Address Reclamation.