New OECD data indicates 75 percent of New Zealand's allocated IP addresses under the old IPv4 internet addressing scheme are already routed and in use.
Globally only 13% of the remaining IPv4 addresses are available to boost those allocations, but based on current allocation trends, experts estimate that pool will run out in 2011 or 2012.
However, New Zealand is in the top three countries in terms of the growth of allocated IPv4 addresses, according to the OECD, which says this reflects a "catch-up" by countries that historically were not well resourced with IPv4 addresses.
New Zealand's average yearly growth of allocated IPv4 addresses is running at 29%, behind only the Czech Republic and Portugal in the 30 member OECD group. Growth in the US, historically one of the best reourced nations in terms of addresses, has slowed to almost zero.
While the average yearly growth of allocated addresses in New Zealand is 29%, that is accelerating. The number of IPv4 addresses allocated has grown from around 150,000 a year up to 2003 to 686,080 in 2008. Growth in the number of routed IPv4 addresses, however, is running at just 5.5 percent a year.
The data is being presented by the chairman of the Ministry of Economic Development's IPv6 steering group, Dr Murray Milner, at a series of CIO-focused huis, sponsored by InternetNZ, around the country this week.
Milner says he is not trying to suggest we are in for any kind of Armageddon.
"There is an event occurring and there are all sorts of ways to address it," he says. Milner is also encouraged by the statistics, which show a significant upturn in the number of allocated IPv6 addresses.
He says ensuring current allocations are being used and being used efficiently is one strategy for managing the looming address shortage.
CIOs are the target of the huis because they need to get to grips with the transition of their own networks to the new addressing scheme, Milner says. Enterprises will begin to see an increase in complexity brought about by the need for address tranlation between the two address schemes if they do not start to manage that, he says.
The OECD report notes that Australia is one of the countries leading the way in IPv6 adoption.
“Australia has taken a lead in deploying IPv6 networks. The Australian Government Information Management Office has a revised strategy for the transition to IPv6 which will see the Australian government agencies being IPv6-capable by the end of 2012,” states the report.
Australia allocated 54 IPv6 prefixes in 2008, up from 15 in 2007. The only country that added more IPv6 addresses last year was the US, with 221 IPv6 addresses allocated.
New Zealand allocated 24 IPv6 prefixes in 2008, up from 13 in 2007.
— Additional reporting by Dahna McConnachie