Fwd: IPv4 Address Exhaustion Effects on the Earth
Joao C. Mendes Ogawa
jonny.ogawa at gmail.com
Thu Mar 31 20:14:03 CDT 2011
----- Forwarded message from Stephen H. Inden -----
From: Stephen H. Inden
Subject: IPv4 Address Exhaustion Effects on the Earth
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2011 00:19:08 +0200
To: Global Environment Watch (GEW) mailing list
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IPv4 Address Exhaustion Effects on the Earth
By Stephen H. Inden
April 1, 2011
At a ceremony held on February 3, 2011 the Internet Assigned Numbers
Authority (IANA) allocated the remaining last five /8s of IPv4 address
space to the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). With this action,
the free pool of available IPv4 addresses was completely depleted.
Since then, several scientists have been studying the effects of this
massive IPv4 usage (now at its peak) on the Earth.
While measuring electromagnetic fields emanating from the world's
largest IPv4 Tier-1 backbones, NASA scientists calculated how the IPv4
exhaustion is affecting the Earth's rotation, length of day and
Dr. Ron F. Stevens, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said all
packet switching based communications have some effect on the Earth's
rotation. It's just they are usually barely noticeable. Until now.
"Every packet affects the Earth's rotation, from a small ping to a
huge multi-terabyte download. The problem with IPv4 is its variable
length header and tiny address space that can cause an electromagnetic
unbalance on transmission lines. The widespread adoption of Network
Address Translation (NAT) on IPv4 networks is making the problem even
worse, since it concentrates the electromagnetic unbalance. This
problem is not noticeable with IPv6 because of its fixed header size
and bigger 128 bits address space", Dr. Stevens said.
Over the past few years, Dr. Stevens has been measuring the IPv4
growing effects in changing the Earth's rotation in both length of
day, as well as gravitational field. When IPv4 allocation reached its
peak, last February, he found out that the length of day decreased by
2.128 microseconds. The electromagnetic unbalance is also affecting
the Earth's shape -- the Earth's oblateness (flattening on the top and
bulging at the Equator) is decreasing by a small amount every year
because of the increasing IPv4 usage.
The researcher concluded that IPv4 usage has reached its peak and is
causing harmful effects on the Earth:
"IPv4 is, indeed, harmful. Not only 32 bits for its address space has
proven too small and prone to inadequate solutions like NAT, it is now
clear that its electromagnetic effects on the Earth are real and
"I'm convinced that the only permanent solution is to adopt IPv6 as
fast as we can", says Dr. Stevens.
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