Wasted IP Addresses

With the resistance of network operators and hardware vendors to accept IPv6, the lack of address in the IPv4 space is becoming more of a concern. I am personally wondering how many addresses in the IPv4 space are actually being used and how many are being wasted on frivolous assignments. Take for example, network 44. Network 44 is a fully class A allocation of 16,777,214 addresses that are assigned to the task of TCP/IP over Amateur Radio, also known as Amateur Packet Radio Network (AMPRNet). The technology has a maximum of 9600 baud, but usually averages 1200. That means the maximum speed of AMPRNet is about 8.72 * 10-4 % of the speed of the average cable broadband connection and well… microscopic compared to the links between backbone provider sites. I am not sure how many people still participate in this network (I couldn’t find any current information for it), but I do not suspect that they still require a full class A network. By its own admissions (HAMRADIO.UCSD.EDU), it is an experimental network that does not rely on connectivity to the global Internet. Wouldn’t that make them a candidate for a valid Class E use, or perhaps valid for NATing through a gateway (since they must still use gateways to obtain access anyway)?

I have no complaint with the AMPRNet creators or users, but more a problem with the policies that have led us to our current situation regarding IP address assignments.