Internet Addresses - IP Space
IP addresses identify individual hosts or services on your network. Hosts can be servers or clients or network equipment that requires globally routable IP address.
In Autonomous Routing a block of globally unique IP addresses (IP Space) is required in order to be able to route traffic from and to your network on the Internet independently.
Blocks of less then 256 addresses (a /24) are not globally reachable, as such blocks are generally filtered out on the Internet. Therefor Autonomous Routing is only possible with a block of at least this size.
The block of IP addresses used, needs to be registered in a routing registry (for example in the RIPE database) under your the name. In RIPE this is identified by the 'Netname' field, which has to refer to your company name.
The block of IP addresses has to have an assigned 'Status' field which means it can be used for production, and not an allocated status, which only means it is reserved as a resource to make future assignment from.
Number portability defined by Provider Type of address space
IP addresses can either be of two different types, which have different number portability characteristics:
- Provider Aggregatable (PA)
PA address assignments made by a Provider come from a large block allocated to a Provider by RIPE. All assigned sub-blocks under such an allocation can be aggregated by the provider, and announced on the by him Internet as one single large overlapping route. This aggregation keeps the global BGP4 routing table small. In order to prevent 'breakup' of this single large announcement, providers generally do not allow customers to route the PA IP addresses assigned to them on the Internet independently. When moving to a different provider, generally customers are required to return the assigned PA IP space, and inherently renumber their network to new IP addresses. It is generally not possible to keep the same PA IP addresses after/during a provider change; they are not portable.
- Provider Independent (PI)
PI addresses are individually assigned, do not have a specific provider relation and are always routed independently on the global Internet by themselves as a separate block.
Inherently, each PA block does make the global BGP4 routing table grow larger, which in the end requires more expensive larger and faster routers to process, on a global scale.
The local advantage however is that PI addresses don't need to be returned when moving to a different (transit) provider (no renumbering), and can be used on services of multiple providers at the same time; they are completely portable.
A potential disadvantage of PI adresses is that a request to assign a block of PI space always has to be done with an advance approval of the justification for that request by RIPE, whereas with PA space this justification is generally only checked by the provider in advance, and by RIPE only afterwards in random samples.
In theory a provider should follow exactly the same rules for justification as RIPE, but in practice many providers interpret the RIPE rules (very) liberally. This can make a PI registration less easy then a PA registration.
In the European region, IP addresses need to be officially requested with, and assigned by, the RIPE Network Coordination Center (NCC). The RIPE NCC is one of five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) providing Internet resource allocations, registration services and co-ordination activities that support the operation of the Internet globally.
After assignment, the IP addresses need to be registered in the public RIPE database, and maintained (kept up to date), along with other database objects that glue the addresses to your company ('organization' and 'person' objects) and to the AS Number they are announced under ('route' object).
Documentation on IP Addresses
Open Peering can take care of the request of Provider Independent IP addresses (with RIPE) for you and maintain registration information for this block in the RIPE database:
A request will only be approved by RIPE if the customer can reasonably justify the requested block will be used immediately after approval. Historically RIPE (also) looked at when a quarter and when half of the space was planned to be used, and accepted a not-100% planned use within on longer term. Now this effectively has changed in full and immediate use as required justification.
Justification of expected use?
While determining the expected use, please notice that apart from hosts and services, sometimes multiple instances of a service on the same host will require separate IP addresses. For example you might have websites for different domain names which each require a separate IP address for security reasons (e.g. SSL).
IP request first, then AS number
With a simultaneous AS and IP request, first the IP request will be handled, and then the AS request.
Yearly recurring fee
The yearly recurring costs are charged on the one hand to cover the costs RIPE charges Open Peering for maintenance of the RIPE registration service, and on the other hand to cover the costs of maintenance of the customers data in the RIPE database including customer requested changes and updates on that data.
Upon cancellation of the contract for IP addresses with Open Peering, maintenance of, and financial responsibility for the the addresses will have to be transferred to an other RIPE approved local registree contracted by the customer. If the space is not transferred before the end of the contract, the IP addresses will be removed from the RIPE database and returned to RIPE, and cannot be used anymore.