IP or not IP
February 5, 2006 11:22 AM   Subscribe

How are blocks of IP numbers assigned, owned, transferred?

I work with a friend who used to run an ISP. At that time he had several C-class blocks of IP numbers assigned to him. Since then he has gone out of the ISP biz, while keeping up a scaled-down consultation and web business, but he has retained control of most of the IP number blocks he had in the 1990s.

He wants to know how his ownership/control of these number blocks is established and maintained, or – put differently – what kind of accreditation does he need in order to go on controlling them or administering them?

The numbers come from a block that is not tied to any geographical location. He also wants to know how he can arrange to lend or rent them to someone else without losing them and, if that's possible, where he would be able to post such an offer.
posted by zadcat to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Search Wikipedia for IANA and ARIN/RIPE-NCC/APNIC. Reading the ARIN website is a good starting point.
posted by azazello at 11:57 AM on February 5, 2006

Just a few ideas to point you in the right direction, and give you some useful terms to search for.

Chances are that he'll have to get in touch with ARIN, who are responsible for IP addresses in North America. In any case, if you do a WHOIS on one of his IP addresses you'll get some useful information including exactly who the IP addresses were assigned to, and by whom.

In order to 'rent' (or 'delegate') his IP addresses to other people, I think he'll have to look into getting an AS Number (ASN) if he doesn't have one already, and becoming a Local Internet Registry (LIR).

Disclaimer: I've only learned about this stuff in connection with RIPE, which oversees things here in Europe -- procedures may be slightly different with ARIN. However, I found the RIPE documentation much easier to find and read than the ARIN stuff, and I think most of the concepts are the same.
posted by chrismear at 12:01 PM on February 5, 2006

This is a tricky subject. IP subnets allocated by ARIN cannot be sold. However, if the company the subnet is allocated to is bought by another company, then the subnet can be transferred. Because of some abuse of the transfer process over the past couple of years, ARIN is pretty picky about you having all of the right documentation. ARIN will generally require the contracts and the paperwork filed with the state to affect the sale or merger faxed to them.

Renting or leasing is a bit different. It's more a matter of getting the appropriate routing setup. Most network providers nowadays require a Letter Of Authorization from the owner of the block to announce the routes or allow you to announce the routes. The owner of the subnet does not need an ASN to rent or lease a subnet. You only need an ASN to announce the route yourself and generally only if you are multi-homed.

I doubt you'll find many takers for renting or leasing subnets that are legitimate. It's relatively easy to get a /22 allocated by ARIN nowadays for relatively cheap assuming you can justify it.
posted by johannes at 2:11 PM on February 5, 2006

Response by poster: That's interesting, johannes. I wonder how people carry off something like this then.
posted by zadcat at 3:07 PM on February 5, 2006

Response by poster: (That eBay post is not by my friend, by the way - it was found on a general search for information on this topic.)
posted by zadcat at 3:08 PM on February 5, 2006

chrismear: Most IP addresses can be reassigned simply by using the SWIP process, which should not require an ASN or becoming an LIR. Completely transferring the IPs is slightly more complicated, as johannes indicated. These procedures are covered in depth on the ARIN site.

johannes: Most NSPs/ISPs that I've dealt with just ask what blocks you'll be advertising when you ask for a BGP session, and require that you register those blocks in a shared registry service such as RADB. I'm not sure if mine have also checked that the IPs were properly SWIP'd, but it would be a good policy for them to do that (all of ours are). Yes, it is fairly easy to get an allocation directly from ARIN if you can justify it, but it's not particularly cheap - for a /22, it would be $1250 yearly for those needing to reassign or a $1250 one-time payment for end-users.

zadcat, if your friend has a standard allocation that is properly SWIP'd to him, reassignment should be the easiest way to lend them to someone. You can check the current SWIP data for each block by using the ARIN whois page.
posted by Edge100x at 7:50 PM on February 5, 2006

Selling a block of IP addresses is not allowed. You can read up on ARIN's website to see the details, but this has been tried many times in the past and ARIN has refused to allow it on many occasions. Many spammers have done this to acquire new IP space to spam from as well as offload IP space that has been "tainted".

Most will require you properly use a routing registry for your IP block, but I've also increasingly run across requests for a LOA, especially if you aren't well known and/or the company requesting the routing isn't the same name as on the block of IP addresses.
posted by johannes at 10:00 PM on February 5, 2006

Sorry, I'm clearly out of my depth here. Don't know why I started talking about ASNs.

Although -- I really did think that you needed to be an LIR in order to sub-allocate IP addresses that had been allocated to you? Is this inaccurate? I got the impression that the original poster was interested in sub-allocating his IPs (and then charging an admin fee, rather than 'selling' them, technically), rather than just transferring them.
posted by chrismear at 12:07 AM on February 6, 2006

i'm the fool in question. First i want to thank you for all your help folks, zadcat ditto in particular. Even though i've been around for a long time, some of it as the techy in a micro-ISP ...when that notion was viable... i always relied on my upstream network to do the routing and broadcasting of my addresses. These are portable blocks. (Yep, i been around long enough to've been allocated such things by direct assignment from ARIN)

It's sure a different environment today. i'm investigating what options i can as my current upstream network guy is closing down shop. He is the last of the old school; logic, reason and honor first rather than take-the-money-and-run.

We were never big enough to be multihomed so i haven't an ASN. i'm not trying to sell the address blocks assigned to me, but am cognizant that a portable address block is a useful resource.

So i've been and am asking for info.
posted by ulimit at 12:24 PM on February 6, 2006

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