IPv4 The Movie – The Directors’ Cut

Back in 2005 we were looking for a way to visualise the history of allocation of IPv4 addresses, and one of the approaches we tried at the time was in the way of a movie. In this visualisation we included the data for the allocation of IPv4 addresses, Autonomous System Numbers, and data for the routing of these addresses and AS numbers. We’ve undertaken a new pass across the allocation and routing data, and this article briefly describes the data sets used to generate this movie, and provides a URL for the movie itself.

What we needed as a data set was a time series of IPv4 and AS number allocation data. This data is available through taking the union of the daily statistics reports produced by each of the five Regional Internet Registries and generating a time services of address allocations. One form of such a “union” report that combines these five individual reports can be found at http://labs.apnic.net/bgp/stats/nro/delegated-nro-extended. The time series of allocation information can be generated by combining the date and size fields of this report. The second component of this data is the time series of advertised addresses and AS Numbers. For this exercise we
used the archive of the BGP route dumps held by the Route Views Project (http://www.routeviews.org). This is a unique collection of routing snapshots taken since 1997 and extending through to the current time. From these route snapshots we can get the time series collection of all advertised addresses and AS numbers that are used in the routing system.

This provides the basic data set for the production of the movie. Each “frame” in the movie represents the visualisation of the data set of allocated and advertised IPv4 addresses and AS numbers for each individual day. Constructing the movie is a matter of arranging these frames in a simple movie maker.

Each frame of the movie is divided into three main elements: the upper part of the frame is a “map” of the IPv4 address space, the lower part is the map of the 16-bit AS number space, and the central sectin of the frame shows the date, and the rate “speedometers” of the allocation rate of IPv4 addresses on the left and AS numbers on the right (Figure 1).

Figure 1 – A Single Frame

The IPv4 Map is further divided into 256 columns, where each column represents 16,777,216 addresses, or a /8 of address space. The total number of addresses within that /8 that are seen in the routing system are plotted first, using dark green. On top of this is added the total number of allocated, but unadvertised addresses within that /8. The next data set is the number of addresses within that /8 that are held by the RIR prior to allocation, so this is the count of addresses in the RIR Pool, plotted in red. Addresses held by the IANA in the IANA pool are then plotted in yellow. FInally there are those addresses that have been reserved by the IETF. These reserved addresses are plotted in blue.

A similar mapping scheme is used to draw the map of the low order 16 bits section of the AS number space. Here each column presents 256 AS numbers, so the map covers the first 65,535 AS numbers.

The date is placed in the center of the frame. To the left is a “speedometer” that shows the rate of allocation of IPv4 address, relative to the maximum rate, and the speedometer to the right shows the same relative allocation rate for AS Numbers.

This version of the movie runs from January 1983, which is the first date of available data up to the date of the exhaustion of the IANA IPv4 address pool, 04 February 2011.

The IPv4 movie is at http://labs.apnic.net/movies/comp.mp4.

Geoff Huston
George Michaelson

August 2012