Legacy Resources

RIPE policy on legacy resources (including class A, B and C addresses)

There are changes taking place to how legacy IP resources are handled at RIPE. These matter to us because they affect our ability to connect some of our clients to the internet.

Since the mid 1990s, IP addresses (and other resources) have been managed by RIPE NCC in the European region. RIPE NCC is funded by its members, who pay for the operation of critical services like the RIPE database (which is how HEAnet proves to its upstreams that we are the correct route for your traffic) and the reverse DNS.

However, institutions that received their address space prior to the mid 1990s – including eleven HEAnet clients – received them from a central registry. RIPE NCC provides reverse DNS and routing DB services to these holders also.

Why is this arising now

Two problems have arisen with this. One is the question of properly sharing the cost of operating the services. The other is that – thanks to name changes, personnel changes and company mergers – it has become very difficult to identify the correct holders of some legacy address blocks.

Addresses from the RIPE NCC (including address space from HEAnet in 193.1.0.0/16 and 87.32.0.0/12) come with a contract and an annual membership fee (which is €1750 in 2014.) This also means that there is a verified holder in the event of any attempt to hijack the networks. However, no such ongoing relationship exists for legacy addresses, which could leave the situation quite ambiguous if a hijack occurs.

Rather than force all legacy space holders to become direct members of the RIPE NCC, some community members (including authors from HEAnet and UCD) participated in developing a policy which would allow institutions to choose how to proceed. This was discussed in a meeting at the HEAnet Conference in November 2013.

What changes are coming

The full policy document can be found at [the RIPE website]

In summary, the options are:

  1. If you are already a RIPE NCC member, you can roll the addresses in as part of your membership.
  2. If you want to become a RIPE NCC member,you can do so.
  3. You can ask another RIPE NCC member to sponsor your resources. The addresses remain yours; there is a small increment to the sponsoring member’s fees (proposed to be €50 in 2015.)
  4. It is possible to deal directly with the RIPE NCC without becoming a member (though the proposed fee for this in 2015 is quite high.)

There are two other options which describe how the RIPE NCC should behave in cases where there are immovable obstacles to a contract, or where the holder doesn’t respond.

What this means for HEAnet clients

HEAnet clients that only use address space and AS numbers received directly from HEAnet (IPv4 addresses starting 193.1. or 87.32-39., and IPv6 addresses starting 2001:770:) are not affected by this change. Provider Independent space from RIPE is also not affected by this change.

HEAnet clients that do hold legacy address space and AS numbers are affected by this change. While all the options above are open to you, we expect that most will find option 3 the most attractive, and we will be happy to facilitate this by acting as sponsoring LIR for our clients.

What happens next

The policy was adopted on 4th February 2014. Now the implementation plan and the charging scheme must be approved by the RIPE NCC’s general meeting. The specific proposals can be found [on the RIPE website].

Once implementation is underway, HEAnet will contact the affected clients with a proposed contract to make sure the RIPE NCC will continue to provide services for your addresses.

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