December 3, 2005

ASO Report at ICANN Vancouver - Looking Back to 1990

I'm sitting here listening to the ASO report - That's the IP address part of ICANN, a part that ICANN has abandoned into the hands of the regional IP address registries (RIRs).

In 1990 the IETF held its 18th meeting here in Vancouver.

And it was here in Vancouver at that 1990 meeting where we did the very first calculations of the rate of consumption of IPv4 address space. (There was no IPv6 at the time.)  It is a story that is not well known - it isn't politically correct.

The IETF is known for its "working groups".  And one very unofficial working group was the "TWG" - the Trollop Working Group.  It's first "meeting" was at the 1990 Vancouver IETF.  Meetings were held at several subsequent IETFs.

The TWG consisted of an evening spent touring the host city's strip joints and usually involved the consumption of pizza and beer.

Well, one's attention tends to drift - after a while all of those brass poles begin to look the same.  So a couple of us somehow started to discuss the IP address space in general and the rate of consumption of addresses in particular.

Imagine the following scene: a dark smokey bar surrounding a central stage lit by colored lights and populated by brass poles and "performers".  Most of the customers' eyes are focused on the performers.  But at one table a couple of geeky looking guys are scribbling numbers, equations, and diagrams on napkins.

Thus was born the internet's first qualitative and quantitative projections of the consumption and ultimate exhaustion of IP address space.

Posted by karl at December 3, 2005 10:10 AM