Publications discussing  the upcoming transition to the new IPv6 addressing system have revealed mounting notes of anxiety regarding the economics and service impact of the global shortage of IPv4 addresses. Common themes of concern have been expressed in various articles and comments,  many which have implications for the top and bottom lines of ISPs, clouds, hosting services and other service providers for interconnected pathways.  Taken together these perceptions suggest an increasing appetite for transfers of increasingly scarce IPv4 addresses.

As these concerns have been recently given voice, some of the more active pundits on Internet Protocol transition have begun to speculate about how certain buyers will decide on whether and how to use NATS, CGNATS, or whether and how to acquire IPv4 addresses to ensure optimal functionality until the transition is complete.

As the world approaches an acute global shortage of IPv4 addresses, an important debate has arisen regarding how effective Network Address Translation (NAT) systems are as a solution to serve the growing mobile user base of the Internet. NATs have been used for approximately 10 years, and the technology is familiar to Internet service providers (ISPs). The usage of NATs has increased significantly in recent years in order to efficiently utilize the dwindling pool of IPv4 addresses.

Carrier- grade NATs have been very helpful in reducing the demand for IPv4 addresses, but can one expect them to continue to be a reliable solution? Many experts take the position that NAT systems will have a very limited and reduced capacity to effectively service the active users of the Internet. In light of the fact that the transition to IPv6 protocol is expected to take anywhere from several years to more than a decade, the limited pool of dedicated IPv4 addresses will remain the preferred option to serve active Internet users, and therefore the value of these IPv4 addresses is expected to increase significantly in the near future. This article takes a closer look at one’s ability to rely on NATs as an acceptable alternative or substitute for a dedicated IPv4 address.

Learn more by downloading Berkeley Research Group’s (BRG) free white paper, NATs: Are They a Long-Term Solution to the IPv4 Address Shortage? In this paper, BRG Directors Gregory Nachtwey and Stephen Willis discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Network Address Translation (NAT) systems with the increase of mobile Internet use during the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 addresses.