What would you do with a Class C IP block?

A reader writes,
Back in the day before ARIN, I obtained a class C license (255 IP numbers) for a network of servers running in my garage. This block hasn't been in official routing for several years. As you well know, class C licenses are in rather short supply.

This is a unique situation. I was talking couple of years ago about this with Clay Shirky, who suggested I crowdsource the question, so here goes:

What's the most creative use that you could imagine for an IP v4 class C license?


  1. Give it back.

    IP hoarding is what has, in part, gotten us into the IP-space mess that we’re currently in.

  2. Sorry, that sounded snarky. No, giving it back wouldn’t be creative the creative thing to do, but it would be the responsible thing.

    ARIN is doing a respectable job of rationing the remaining IPv4 space.

    Now if only we could get companies/organizations to give up the Class As they’re sitting on.

  3. NICKTHEDICK is right. Trying to come up with a creative plan for misusing a scarce resource is irresponsible. Give them back.

  4. The question itself is not very specific.

    Does it come down to the most creative use of 255 IP numbers, or the most creative use of 255 servers with their respective IP numbers in your garage?
    And most creative is a matter of perspective as well. Most creative in terms of making the most money, most creative in terms of getting most +ups of a certain crowd, or simply the weirdest, most outlandish thing you could ever think of doing with 255 IP numbers?

    Of course, whatever you do, it must involve, Twitter, Arduino, and be covered in Swarovsky chrystals.

  5. When someone named “-thedick” tells you to give up a scarce resource, I’d suggest listening.


  6. Find if there is a local free network in your community, possibly the “wireless” kind. If there is one, that means they are building a network using private adresses (10.x.x.x), and 254 public IPs mean that now this network can be partially routed to the internet. Also means that there exists an infraestructure to support the correct use of that C class. (Sorry for my bad english, i’m spanish)

  7. Actually the most responsible thing is not giving it back.

    Irrespective of the shortage, perhaps there is a better use for them than just general commerce. It is his investment and his IP numbers, should he just give it back so that you could have one or should he responsibly make sure that the resource is used responsibly rather than hoarded or misused? I think the latter is the smart choice.

    Lay off the dude. It is a good thing that he has the presence of mind to suggest that this is a unique opportunity (like finding a living T-Rex), and should be preserved and used rationally, than let the mindless mob tear it apart.

    Thank you Mr. Reader.

  8. The best I can think of would be to donate it to a charity organization that has need of it, or else, sell it to the highest bidder (if you need to be creative, be creative in the way you “market” your offering, or in the criteria you set for picking a buyer) and again, donating the proceeds (minus what you originally paid, perhaps) to charity.

    If you can’t come up with something to do with such a scarce resource now, might as well pass it on to someone who does. What you’ve got, right there, is a solution in need of a problem.

  9. i agree with previous commenters here; you should give them back. In fact the mere fact that you’ve published the fact that you don’t use them is reason enough for ARIN to reassign them to another user.
    Instead of wasting everyone’s time trying to do something “creative” with 255 IPv4 addresses how about think of something cool to do with a couple of billion IPv6 addresses?

  10. I somehow doubt that 255 ip addresses are going to make a difference, now that the migration to ip6 is under way. If it was a class A being hoarded it would be a different matter.

    As for what to do with them, I dunno. Some sort of game where each of the 255 addresses = a parallel universe? Each IP as a community that can attack/trade each other? Some system where you get bumped to a random IP when you log in, and things are different?

    Question is I suppose, what can you do with 255 sequential IP addresses that you can’t do with 255 random IP addresses in other classes? Or that you can’t do from behind one IP address that routes to 255 different servers depending on the port?

  11. I disagree with Nick and Icky. I’d rather see the IP addresses go to something like Kali than possibly another spam server. Then again, I might be misunderstanding. :)

  12. Giving back 255 addresses is a drop in the bucket — it helps, every little bit helps of course, but I bet you can do better.

    Become part of the solution — use these addresses to set up a bunch of IPv4 to IPv6 gateways.

  13. Put a server in 254 garages… or give it to 4chan, I’m sure they’ll come up with something creative.

  14. Give one IP address to someone or an organization who will host open content. In the end, you will have 250+ servers running content licensed under the Creative Commons. Benefits you and your content as well as others who need to host data.

  15. Here’s what you do.

    Do an internet search for what sort of projects are out there with contingency plans for a Class C block. Find the ones that interest you. Bookmark them.

    This step is crucial. Contact the people involved, and verify the state of their setup. Make sure they’re not flakes, or in immediate danger of going broke, or secretly a cult, etc etc.

    After subjecting all suitors to this scrutiny, decide who should get the block. If It were me, I’d draft a contract allowing them use of it, but retaining ownership. But don’t be a dick about it.

  16. Some times I don’t know what to do with my 4x /19s… then I remember… IRC vhosts!

    Thank you ARIN :D

  17. Set up a onion Tor server, Help people that are in censored country have free access to information.

    I also like the idea of helping out a free net to provide community internet access and broad band.

    The other thing you could do would be to set up a ISP and donate accounts to the poor. With a donation of some net books or one lap top per child machines you could provide the poor with basic internet access.

  18. Create a server tour. Each one can serve up a new button “Click here to visit my other IP address!”. Click the button 253 times and tours over…

  19. print all of the ip addresses out on small pieces of paper. list instructions on the paper that if you know what is on the piece of paper you can use it free. if not give it to someone else with the same instructions.

    run a ping batch fine see how many have been used after a week, month, year.

    split all addresses left into two equal groups.
    give half to low income area school districts with servers and a few computers to make a small network for the kids to learn and practice network skills on.

    keep the rest and figure out a way to make huge amounts of money and get rich.

  20. @gollux

    As long as we’re being pedants, removing .0 and .255 still leaves you with 254, not 253. Unless there’s one more magic number I don’t know?

  21. @spanish guy talking about 10.nets

    No. It doesn’t work that way.


    >I somehow doubt that 255 ip addresses are
    >going to make a difference, now that the
    >migration to ip6 is under way. If it was
    >a class A being hoarded it would be a
    >different matter.

    You drastically overestimate the adoption rate of ipv6.

    Bottom line, you need someone to route the block. I don’t know how willing ISPs are to do so or what they charge for it. As your original post implies, you understand that you can’t just pop up anywhere on the net with your address block and have the rest of the world talk to you.

    Really, unless you have a real use for it yourself, just give it back or donate it to someone who can utilize it.

    A class C seems paltry, but it’s more than enough to support a small ISP. They used to hand out class Cs like they were candy, but in reality, it’s quite a bit of address space.

    Also, I suspect that if you’ve had it for that long, it didn’t cost you anything.

  22. @26:

    If you’re going to be pedantic, Gollux, first check that you’re right.

    There are 256 addresses in a Class C block (000-255 inclusive), when you eliminate two of them (network and broadcast) you have 254 left.

    I’ve been administering networks for too many years to let that one slide.

    Sadly, I have no ideas on what to use a claas C for other than to give, sell or rent them off to others.

  23. @TOGOODTOCHECK aka Network GURU

    1-255 = 254
    0-255 = 255

    Therefore, xxx.xxx.xxx.0 is the network ID and xxx.xxx.xxx.255 is the network broadcast IP; both are UNUSABLE leaving only 253 usable IP addresses.


    Aside from the cost of hardware, I think that setting up a TOR relay would be fantastic. Perhaps working with an ISP to get some virtual servers up and use your Class C?

  24. Why doesn’t someone ask the IP block what IT wants to be used for ? Deciding for them will only give you 256 resentful computers :/

  25. I don’t know nothin’ ’bout IPv4 and IPv6 and whatnot. But what he has seems to be a thing of value, and I see the word license involved. Is this something that can be handed to some worthy nonprofit as a sort of endowment? Seems like a block of IP addresses could generate a steady stream of revenue for the person holding the license, right?

    This sounds like it could buy a lot of bags of rice or condoms or mosquito nets.

  26. My employer (an university) has had two Class B blocks since the early 1990s.

    The result? Nearly every computer and device on the network that can have an IP address has a public IP address. Even though 99% of those with public IPs are behind a firewall.

    When suggestions of offering back many of those IPs were made, and switching to NAT instead, the response was but a laugh.

    What a waste.

  27. Figure out a way to use 254 IP addresses in the IP equivalent of channel hopping as a means of supporting secure communications.

  28. A bit more detailed:

    let’s count here…
    0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    one for each number = 11

    it’s an 8 bit value. how many different values can you represent with 8 bits?
    2^8 = 256…
    If you’re start at zero, that leaves you with 0 through 255.

    Now we have to strip off both ends (0 for the “subnet” and 255 for broadcast). 256 – 2 = 254.

  29. Just giving it back to whoever the “authorities” are, that’s stupid.

    If you give it away to someone, give it away on YOUR TERMS.

    Find a need and use them, they are valuable. And giving them back or even donating them won’t give you a penny of tax credit (or even a thank you note). They’ll just resell them and laugh all the way to the bank.
    There are good ideas here in the comments, but there will be more if you follow up with an “Ask Slashdot” (slashdot.org) question.
    I can’t think of any sites (yea, Saturday), except creative places like make.com, tech places like arstechnica.com, or maybe some business or entrepreneurial sites like Forbes.com or …?
    Also, browse some Wikipedia.org on IPs or web sites or URLs, hosting, DNS, etc. – when I’m stuck I find going back to the basics of definitions, uses, and so on reveals some related words or directions or references to follow up on.

  31. @Albatros13

    0 to 255 inclusive is 256. knock 2 off of that and you have 254. Having eliminated xxx.xxx.xxx.0 and xxx.xxx.xxx.255, you have a range from xxx.xxx.xxx.1 to xxx.xxx.xxx.254, which is 254 addresses.

    If you’re still not sure about the total, try counting the numbers from 1 to 254.

  32. re 253 vs 254:
    jeez – I posted my bitchy math answer, then refreshed only to find out that several other people had already done it better.

  33. Actually, if you’re NAT’ing those addresses to servers inside your network with private IP addresses, you can use all 256 addresses, you do not need to strip off the first and last address.

    In general practice, even when using more open prefixes than /24 (e.g. a /22 that isn’t further subneted) it is common to not assign the .255 address to a host or service, because some poorly designed filters automatically assume that every .255 address is a subnet broadcast address, and block traffic to or from such an IP.

    So for the original question, you actually do have 256 addresses to work with. I suggest using them to create a giant choose your own adventure story, with one page hosted on each IP.

  34. Fuck’em All.

    Flaunt that you lucked into having a bunch of a scarce resource. Be a total asshole with it.

    Create a public addition service:
    Multi-home them all to on box. When an someone ping’s two different ip’s < 127, pong back from the ip that is their sum. ping ?.?.?.10 and ?.?.?.32 get pong from ?.?.?.42

  35. As long as you don’t give them out. Hold them, like everyone else should. Let’s just get this ipv6 transition over with.

  36. To add to the basic math fun. Counting is not the same as subtraction. Imagine pigeonholes. Subtraction is the number of walls between holes. Counting is the number of holes. There’s only a difference of one (one more hole than wall), but that one is constantly tripping people up, especially when writing for-loops in code.

    Counting is one of those basic life skills most people learn properly in kindergarten. Subtraction comes not long after. I guess we fail to teach the difference (har).

  37. Put a randomly generated public key on each server. Change them out each day. Better yet, make the public and private available on some, and let strangers post keys on others. See what happens.

  38. Re #27, #38, #57:

    Tor’s great stuff, but you don’t need a class C to run a Tor server. The limiting resource on the Tor network is (depending on how you look at it) probably either bandwidth or developers. It isn’t IP addresses. In fact, running a whole bunch of servers would tend to concentrate traffic in one administrative domain, which folks would generally see as a bad thing.

  39. The cash for clunkers program seems to be running short on server space. How about some cash for ip addresses, uncle sam?

  40. I would try to get a BGP peering agreement set up with ATT, get the whole Internet routing table, then get a relationship with some other tier 1 carrier.

    After that I would span all the traffic coming from ATT’s network out to a server that would parse the data payload from every IP packet and print it to webpage that updates every second.

    If I could do it right, I would try to follow the TCP streams, so I could print in clear text any VOIP calls that were not encrypted, passwords sent along in clear text and whatever else is readable on the wire.

    It would be my project to expose how easy it is for ATT to pass all the same data along to Homeland Security.

    Of course, I would probably go to prison real quick if I did that. Too bad no one at ATT ever will.

  41. @ROBOTON

    the only TCP streams you’d be following are going to be your own. I don’t get it.

    anything you can do ‘creatively’ with publicly routable IP addresses you can do without publicly routable IP addresses; unless you’re a network engineer and get off on some pretty (relatively) esoteric stuff.

    give it back if you have no use for it; or sit on it if you ever think you will. giving it back is a nice gesture, but that gesture may or may not stink if you need it down the road.

    good call on not posting the range; or some enterprising whiners would make sure it got taken back for you (-:

  42. Do whatever you want with it.

    If you want fair – give it to charity organizations who can’t afford to buy an IP.

  43. The nomenclature for IP addresses changed. No money was exchanged early in the history of the internet for a “license” to use a specific set of IPs.

    Class A -> NNN.xxx.xxx.xxx
    Class B -> NNN.NNN.xxx.xxx
    Class C -> NNN.NNN.NNN.xxx

    These so called licenses were only of value once organizations started using them. The time and effort of engineers to update routing and change IPs assigned to specific hosts as well as changing DNS maps.

    The nomenclature and methods changed to refer to IP address blocks via the subnet masks, making a class C license a /24 address space (masks 24 out of 32 bits of the address space, or in other words, leaving 8 bits available for the network, i.e. 256 addresses, with—as others have pointed out above—254 actually usable). This is why when you get a public IP from your DSL provider, you usually end up with a /31 or /30 address space.

    Today, you usually cannot arbitrarily bring a block of addresses with you if you switch ISPs. Unless you have gargantuan amounts of cash (or a special interest from a network provider), it is *much* easier for the provider to give you IPs that it already has allocated for that purpose.

    Even with the cash, most likely an ISP will refuse, because the block in question is being covered by BGP rules governing the blocks around it.

    So, the suggestions to give them to non-profits or some other “needy” organization doesn’t make sense given how internet traffic is routed.

    In other words, unless some company wants the block and you could ask that they pay you for it, it’s just asinine to hold on to it.

    If it’s a drop in the bucket to return it, at least that is a helpful drop. There’s already a squeeze going on for IP space, holding onto it isn’t going to *help* with transitioning to IPv6, it just increases the pain. The world doesn’t need the pain increased, its more helpful as available addresses space to ease the transition.

  44. Ok, not directly on the subject, but can someone explain (or point to a good explanation) of why the IPv6 transition is taking so long? It must have been almost a decade ago that I first heard talk of the subject. I understand why it was hard in the beginning, but still? Seems like the biggest technical hurdles should have been addressed by now.


  45. @Gnoodles

    Implementation and adoption are two vastly different horses who have zero attraction to each other, no matter how many dates they go on and how many bales of hay they share. They will not fuck and make a beautiful shiny baby Internet.

  46. you should form your own isp, divide them into two sets, Auction off one set to subsidize the donation of the other set to worth while charities. Now that’s if you want to be philanthropic. If you’re wish it to creatively and frivolously utilize your class c license, then I would say set up a social network where by users submit requests to use the IP addresses for a particular use over a particular period of time. It’ll become a temporary creative space curated by the crowd, available to all.

  47. Use them as a base of operations for a DDOS attack on the adjacent block of IP addresses, until the licensee for that block knuckles under and sells you the license for chump change. Now you have 512 IP addresses.

    Repeat until you own the internet.

  48. Make a website with a directory that starts with: Women with…. Then fill the empty spot with every noun available in the dictionary.
    Dismiss those you cannot make a photo or video of.
    Proceed to make photos and videos of women with all these objects and topics, regardless of what it is, and cramp your servers full of these.

    Then watch how you get crazy hits from the weirdest fetishists.

    Oh yeah, and log their IP’s. :)

  49. Donate them to the seti project. Who knows, maybe you’ll help discover life outside our solar system, you would then be truly awesome, instead of just mildly geeky.

  50. Host a ‘creative use raffle’ for people who would have a hard time getting IP addresses and who really need them to do good (or very interesting) things.


  51. what block is it? if theyre not being routed, one could use them as valid spoofed addresses for spam, botnetting and other goodies.

  52. Hook your 25x IPs up to 25x automated bells. Each time an IP receives any traffic ring the corrosponding bell.

  53. Can someone post a link to explain what it means to “own” a block of IP addresses? What is the difference between C blocks and A blocks and X blocks or whatever else there is?

  54. first sell them,
    then use the money to start a non-profit that converts cars to electric. make some electric art cars.

  55. Well, with one of those addresses, you can set up a site encouraging a switch to IPv6.

    Other than that, you can start a web hosting business, and use the remaining IP addresses for SSL certificates.

  56. Why was this so entertaining for me to read all these posts, even though I really don’t understand what everyone is talking about?

    I guess I always love self-assured comments (about math, in this case) that are apparently wrong. Makes me happy to know it’s not just me.

  57. I agree with Anonymous above…set the block free for the TOR network. In fact, TOR node operators who show high capacity should be able to move in for “free” (or as near to free as possible).

    Hum. It’s worth talking to the TOR folks and see if the availability of such a block can be utilized strategically in order to increase the security of the worldwide TOR network.

  58. Ping chain so they can each count themselves! They could even accumulate a count all possible pairs, and then we could argue about the answer they got.

    Then set them off finding n!, where they don’t know their own n.

  59. Offer them to the AS250.net project. They are usually short of IP assets – especially outside of Europe. With a /24 in the US they could expand their backbone to the Americas. They can route this network and they do already power a number of free-speech blogs and community projects. See http://as250.net/about.html

  60. Host a website called “What would you do for a class C IP block”
    Then let folks post media doing crazy challenges.
    The public will vote on who’s doing the best.

    Then after a voting period has elapsed (weeks, months) have your top10 finalists show-down for who’d do the most ridiculous shit for an IP block.

    It’d be great, you can sell (google) ads on the site and it’d make for a lot of laughs.

  61. @66

    There are no serious technical hurdles remaining with ipv6. It works just peachy. The problem is that with the spread of functional NAT implementations and the rationing of remaining ipv4 addresses, there wasn’t, and still isn’t, much financial incentive for large providers to adopt it.

    Those that do support ipv6, mostly do so via 6-to-4 translation.

    As for smaller networks, admins are just reticent to learn something new when they don’t have to.

  62. Run 4 simultaneous virtual chessboard simulations?
    Each server represents one square, and moves are based on majority vote on visitors to the servers.
    (The term “turn-based multiplayer online strategy role-playing game” comes to mind)

    Then by looking at the hitcounts you can figure out which square is most used in chess.

  63. Let’s break the question into a couple of categories based off the answers so far:

    1. Use the IP addresses yourself for some sort unique application:
    (AI, DDOS, Server farm, DIY ISP etc.)

    2. Give/sell the addresses to somebody else.

    3. A hybrid of these two.

    There have got to be a lot of factors pressing in from that pesky ‘reality’, but we don’t really know the author’s situation so we can construe a few standard factors:
    1. Cost
    2. Coolness of application
    3. Ethics (sorry DDOS)
    4. Feasibility (sorry AI)
    5. Time

    Taking all this fun stuff into account, we can construe that it is likely that the most winningest ideas will not involve a massive construction of cables, wires, machines, and NICs. Also, the fact that the author crowd-sourced means that they are community minded, and that probably rules out any nefarious/criminal application.

    From the Tor website:

    Ongoing trends in law, policy, and technology threaten anonymity as never before, undermining our ability to speak and read freely online. These trends also undermine national security and critical infrastructure by making communication among individuals, organizations, corporations, and governments more vulnerable to analysis. Each new user and relay provides additional diversity, enhancing Tor’s ability to put control over your security and privacy back into your hands.

    Why not set up Tor nodes for now? While the crowd grinds away at a better idea, you can at least benefit freedom and liberty. It satisfies the above criteria, and is the best of the solutions I’ve read above.

  64. humour my ignorance: isn’t it dangerous to put such an attractive concentration in one place where the forces of Evil might have to less work to compromise a lot?

  65. @101

    I suppose so, but it’s irrelevant. Having a /24 no more enables you to set up a Tor node than having a single public IP. I don’t know why people are harping on it.

    As for somehow randomizing your address within the class C or something, ummm sure, you could, but it’d be a pain in the ass and would do nothing to enhance the anonymity of the node.

    A few keystrokes will tell anyone the name of the owner of the IP block and where it “lives” physically.

    The Wild West days of the Internet are, sadly, over.

    There’s really nothing that *fun* to do with 255 public IP addresses.

    To the writer: If you’re actually community-minded, JUST GIVE IT BACK (or donate it to a worthy, open project as a few have suggested). And please, never use the word “crowdsource” again.

  66. I’m weighing in on the TOR side of this. Do some good.

    However, perhaps it could be with the caveat tht if someone needs/wants/could use them for some fantastically creative/intriguing application in the future you’d lend at least some of them out for that.

  67. I’ve been in your situation (Jon Postel, rest in peace.)

    First thing is, you need to get those IPs routed. They are likely to be squatted by criminals if you never use them. If you’re not going to reassign them soon, set up a single server and NAT all the IPs to it so that it will respond to pings and traceroutes.

    If it were mine, I would not give it to ARIN. A committee and their bots are not more capable of responsibly allocating it than an individual, and there are already IPs available for allocation by wealthy committees. Don’t pass off the responsibility – you’re on the right track!

  68. He has 255 usable, 256 – the broadcast of 255, but you can use the ip of the network, and I’ve seen it done. Kinda suprised, but it does work just fine.

  69. Giving them back would just mean, someone else would be getting them, hoarding them possibly, and then making money off of your smart investment.

    Yeah, I’m all for ‘good of mankind’ but there’s no reason to be stupid about it.

    If you can financially profit from them or do decide to sell them, I say go for it.

  70. Sorry, this isn’t very charitable, or caring, or whatever (well, maybe it is a bit whatever).

    Don’t ISPs pay for the blocks of IP addresses that they use?

    Of Cory gives back his block, does it not become a commercially valuable property that is then going to be sold (or rented, but money will be involved) for commercial use?

    In which case why should Cory simply give it? Is there not a mechanism to enable Cory to get paid for this block?

    Looking forward to the It does/doesn’t work like that answers — because I don’t actually know how it does work.

  71. After Math fail, I have Reading Fail.

    It isn’t Cory’s block. He asks the question on behalf of a reader.

    For Cory… read… reader.

  72. like others noted, nearly any ‘cool’ think you could do with this block could be done with a NAT. so unless you’re going to make some sort of interactive generative art piece that uses input across a range of ip addresses (which , would basically be a honeypot – letting you do two things at once), there’s no real “fun” use for them ( that you couldn’t do otherwise )

    So I would look into making money off them – because down the line someone will make money off them, either through licensing or resale ( most ISP’s and webhosts i know charge $x for a static ip )

    I would look into:
    1- selling the block
    2- offering some sort of ip service. the chance to route traffic through 255 IPs is pretty awesome. most firewall software is configuerd for single-address throttling, not multi. having done a bit of spidering / data mining, being able to route through 255 IPS would be awesome and avoid most throttles when indexing social networking sites. I’ve also been paid in the past by record companies to “stuff ballots” of online contests — and for that I;d just use lists of open proxies around the world. but with your address space, one would be able to use and configure the entirety of addresses ( and not write test software and keep paying script kiddies for lists of new open proxies )

  73. @109

    It doesn’t *necessarily* work like that. If he were to give it back, it would be returned to ARIN, the organization responsible for assigning/delegating the use of IP addresses, which is a non-profit.

    The address space could potentially be used by someone for profit, to the extant that they’d use them to connect servers to the Internet which offer services they can charge for. Or, more directly, they could be, say, rented for a fee by an ISP to an end user looking to avoid using NAT for their computers. But this is typically only done by large providers (see below).

    Although, they could also easily end up in the hands of a dot-org, a school district, etc.

    They can’t be (practically) split up and sold piecemeal if that’s what you’re getting at.

    That said, while a /24 has value, it doesn’t really translate to cash value. While you could possibly sell it for a modest sum to a small ISP or individual, you’re not going to find a big provider willing to shell out money for it. They probably don’t even want it because they already have plenty of IP space and don’t need the annoyance of routing a measly class C.

    The fact of the matter is, this isn’t some fabulously valuable commodity, unearthed like a chest full of gold dabloons. It’s just 255 IP addresses. Too big to be of use to an individual; too small to be of interest to a real network.


  74. Oh, and for a community (boingboing) that will howl wildly over minor fair use issues or net neutrality fights, you all are sounding awfully greedy.

    As an aside, most people suggesting he should keep them and offer this-or-that hip service are failing to consider that A) it’s gonna cost him a bunch of money in hardware/hosting and B) none of the suggested applications need nearly that many IP addresses.

  75. Keep them. Hoard them. Do what you want with them but DON’T give them back.

    I haven’t lost my mind – the sooner we run out of IPv4 addresses the sooner we’ll be forced to move on and use IPv6.

  76. How about a traveling crowd sourced art gallery? Web artists (visual arts, words, whatever) can submit proposals to the crowd, using up one or two of the addresses. Then based on crowd voting, each artist gets 1 (one) IP address for a set length of time (3 months?)

    Rules would involve no harvesting of visitor info, but otherwise give people a chance to display their work. I imagine in some cases they might just post a redirector to their own site, but that seems legit to me.

    Your class C block then becomes a go-to location for interesting things – (kind of boing boingy)

  77. NICKTHEDICK and others> No, giving it back isn’t the responsible thing to do. It’s a resource that will run out even if you give back the 254 address and simply will not make any difference.

    The sooner we are close to running out the sooner a more urgent push to move to ipv6 will happen.

  78. This may be a bit selfish, since my college spies on all of its students, but many, many colleges do, and very few free VPN options exist, and even fewer good ones. Perhaps you could use these IP addresses, which have never been seen before, to create a massive private tunnel through which those of us on censored or monitored internet access could flourish? Something cross platform, a utopia of internet freedom, and all costing nothing to the end user? Perhaps you could make it cost something just at start up, so you can get a bit of cash, but not cost anything monthly, as services like IPREDator do? I dunno. In the end, you’re going to do some awesome project, and our minds will be blown, but I’m just thinking, wouldn’t it be amazing, to know that a person we can trust is running a massive VPN for us, with no other intent than the free sharing of information? Just weighing in on the matter.

    1. This issue needs a flowchart. Preferably with a bubble reading “Do you have an underground lair?”

  79. IPv6 isn’t just IPv4 with a larger namespace. It deliberately breaks NAT (there is religious warfare on that subject) and the IPv6 address incorporates the hardware MAC address (making it more of a hardware interface address than a node / endpoint address, and so making the reassignment of IP addresses rather more tetchy). Besides, there is some question whether CIDR-style non-hierarchical address assignment and routing will scale within the bounds of Moore’s Law. So adopting IPv6 isn’t quite the no-brainer its advocates argue it to be.

  80. As a networking researcher, I’d (with obvious bias) also suggest considering donating it to a friendly neighborhood internet researcher. Just to be clear, I’ve got my own /24 already, so I’m not asking for myself. But there’s a fair bit of experimentation that can be done with some swamp space — BGP announcement experiments, honeypots (though a /24 is a bit small), etc. You might check around. Or ask for suggestions on NANOG, the North American Network Operators Group mailing list, if there are good causes you can donate the /24 to. The folks there probably see a lot of requests for donated Internet service.

    -Dave Andersen

  81. I don’t know the best answer to yor question, but I think you should enter it in a “Geekiest Question of 2009” competition and you would surely win.

  82. (In RE: to #121)

    IPv6 isn’t just IPv4 with a larger namespace. It deliberately breaks NAT

    Why do you need NAT when you have a /48?

    and the IPv6 address incorporates the hardware MAC address

    It doesn’t have to. (It’s just that doing so makes changing ISPs or upstream routes hella easy.) If you’re using an autoconfigured address, you can ask your OS to periodically randomize the lower 64 bits of your address. Also, there’s always DHCPv6 for assigning arbitrary addresses to arbitrary hosts.

    …so making the reassignment of IP addresses rather more tetchy)

    I’m not sure what you mean by *reassignment* (why reassign when you have a /48 and DNS?), but renumbering is *really* easy.
    I just announced a new prefix on my LAN, and all of my machines automatically grabbed an address on it. I then updated the AAAA records for all of the affected nodes with a single search n’ replace. Total time to git-r-dun: ~two minutes.

  83. This issue needs a flowchart. Preferably with a bubble reading “Do you have an underground lair?”

    I’m on it!

  84. Set them up as attributes men search for. One may be god, one peace, one humility, etc. It would be rather heartening to ping god and get a response.

  85. Set up a neighborhood wisp maybe. Basically everything in this thread can be done with a single ip. Unless you have some purely research purpose that can be done within the confines of such a small block it’s really worthless. Either give it to someone who will use it in that capacity or route it so it’s not as useful to criminals.

  86. Choose Your Own Adventure

    You are hiking in the woods behind your grandparents house, skipping and humming, blissfully ignorant of the nerd you are going to become when puberty hits, and you, for some reason, decide PCs are cooler than girls (or boys… oh you know what I mean, the L word), when you (remember you were hiking) see the entrance to a cave hidden behind some brush.

    Do you

    Enter The Cave? (


    Go Back To Mummy (


    CHEAT! There is no way to get here.

  87. #8 posted by Takuan, August 22, 2009 2:59 PM


    …. And please, never use the word “crowdsource” again.

    #103 posted by Takuan, August 23, 2009 12:15 PM

    (always preferred “angrymobsourcing” myself)

    Seems to me that based on the selection of possible uses given in this message board the absolute best is giving it to: http://as250.net/about.html
    They incorporate many of the suggestions made on this board into their work and they seem to be legit.

    Other then that you should simply sell them and donate the profits to fix some of the problems in the world. Any money given to a worthy charity is better than none.

    F the people who say to give it back – I’m sure if they owned the block none of them would return it. It’s funny how philanthropic people can be when they are giving away other people’s stuff.

  88. I just read this ENTIRE thread and have NO idea what any of it means.

    But the Flowchart was amazing.

  89. Some interesting suggestions but most do not appear to be a clear and pressing need.

    I wonder how about becoming an ISP that lets its users buy media from any media publisher? You are the intermediary and bill the user while letting them download the commercial content.

    – Works for Japanese handset manufacturers
    – You could find others who can’t aggregate content
    – The IPs come in handy if you make a deal with some people making a small linux powered handset for example.
    – The WiFi-enabled e-ink tablet market is about to explode and they need lots of fresh commercial content.
    – Your offer could guarantee: no drm, no erasing of media, access to both free and commercial work, publisher agnostic, tie-ins with e-money systems.
    – Big users or peer ISPs might want to connect via dedicated VPN
    – You could manage the content and payments to authors and artists, or conceivably outsource that to someone else. Probably a ton of people on BoingBoing would do it.
    – Offer fast downloads from your RAID drives of HD quality video only to your users (needs a deal with a TV station or film company).
    – First become an ISP and charge connection fees while bootstrapping your media empire. Cut deals with e-money vendors. This is your springboard into becoming a mogul who can cut publishing deals with aplomb.
    – You also might be able to get yourself registered as a community library and see if that lets you rent out titles to one person at a time. Always wondered if that would work..
    – ???
    – Profit!

  90. How would one go about ‘selling’ a portable block?

    I presume that any company willing to pay has a pressing need, so it’s a win/win responsible thing to do (if one refuses spammers).

    twsanford @ gmail

  91. Just keep them!
    So my network provider, my university and everybody else will finally start to adapt to ip6!

  92. I say don’t give them back!! The IPV4 system wasn’t designed to scale. It will fail if you give them back or not. Better to cause it to fail one /24 faster so we can just move on the IPv6 standard. I would say have some underground simi criminal organization out of Russia use them for as a bit torrent network and slap machines behind em’… I say use them as a symbol of a destroyed system to help destroy another system (i.e. the media’s strangle hold on music and movies)..

  93. The TOR Onion is a great idea. BUt I would set up an artist’s colony.
    I also like the idea of setting up your own 4chan Something Awful type site.

    Ok, yeah, I’m really all for porn.

  94. surveying what’s been suggested so far, the only thing I completely agree with is NOT just giving it back.

  95. Create the Boing Boing virtual world project, based on second life’s open source code, let boing boing readers improve it in a huge free sandbox. Call it Boingrunner.

  96. ***Combine the IP addresses with Geo-caching and Encryption for a physically decentralised random access darknet***


    (1) Host an encrypted webpage at each IP address. Each webpage is a multimedia capable wiki with a few gigs of storage and instructions to whoever can access it to use it for whatever they want. (including sub-encrypting part of the wiki)

    (2) Put each IP address along with its decrypt code on separate USB keys. Don’t keep any copies yourself.

    (3) Mail the usb keys to 254 different Geocachers sourced through http://www.geocaching.com with a trackable travel bug and the following protocols attached:

    (A) Please Deposit this USB key at the next geocache you find.

    (B) Please feel free to access the IP address using the decrypt key provided and make use of the webspace as you will.

    (C) Feel free to report the travel bug online and refer to content found at the IP address.

    (D) Please do not post the decrypt key online in order to maintain geographical decentralisation of random access to the darknet.

    (4) Track the internet folklore generated by the crowd sourced chaos over the next decade.

    (5) If any IP address becomes accessible through a google search for its decrypt key then close the wiki and restart the process for the same address with a different decrypt code on a different usb key distributed to a different geocache.

  97. Corey probably got his address block in Ontario around the same time I did from ONet. As he states in his post it was PRE-ARIN.

    These legacy blocks were assigned by ONet. I did not receive anything from ARIN, and have no formal relationship with them. I don’t pay them fees for my address block or for my AS number, because they didn’t give them to me.

    ARIN would like form a relationship with those holders of Legacy Address space, but people are pretty leery of doing so and going from having a free block of addresses to paying $100 U.S. year doesn’t look like any kind of deal.


    One of the problems with holding a legacy block is that if you want to make changes, you end up having to deal with ARIN anyway.

    So if you have to change reverse DNS servers, they want proof that you are still solvent and using the block, even though you aren’t subject to their rules. The net result is that they won’t make the changes.

    They won’t let you change the registered name of the owner of the block unless the company holding the block is purchased.

    They don’t think you own the address space, they don’t allow you to sell or transfer it.

    Corey doesn’t have to give it back, he’s not bound by the ARIN rules and regulations. He didn’t get the addresses from them. He had the addresses before ARIN even existed and probably has a better claim to them than ARIN does.

    There are lots of IPV4 addresses out there not being used. HP has at least 2 Class A’s and a Class B., and Compaq’s old B.

    A /24 is about the smallest block that you can realistically route on the Internet. You could technically subnet it and try announcing smaller parts from different locations but you’d be BGP filtered out of existence and would be essentially unreachable on the Internet.

    People who are suggesting that you chop it into 255 parts and give one to individual people don’t understand how routing works.

    For those arguing about how many IP’s there really are in a Class C, zero is actually a perfectly valid IP address. It’s just that old versions of SunOS had this weird ability to set the broadcast address as the 0 instead of 255 and forever poisoned the use of zeroes in routing. is a perfectly good IP address, so is depending on the subnet mask.

    In terms of “Giving it back” you wouldn’t be giving it back to ARIN, you would just be giving it to them.

    Since it was never theirs, you can’t “Give it back”

    malus malum

  98. I second #78’s idea of connecting them to bells. It could become an art installation. Imagine hearing the random pings (literally) of the internet, followed by the musical slide of an IP block scan. You could even have commonly-attacked ports listening, connected to other noise-makers, as a sort of musical honeypot.

  99. Urthen, loved the flowchart!

    Malus, I thought I was the only one who turned down ARIN’s “legacy” agreement… nice to know I have company.

    I’m actually an ARIN member, which I suppose makes it a bit stranger. Legacy again.

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