[e2e] is IP address portability next?

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Thu Dec 4 14:29:08 PST 2003

    > From: Rick Jones <raj at cup.hp.com>

    > So, with the US FCC (?) allowing/mandating that people be able to
    > migrate their cell phone numbers from one provider to another, does
    > that suggest that before long, something similar would happen with IP
    > addressess?

The standard reply to this suggestion is that it will happen shortly before
your street address becomes portable! :-)

On an only slightly more serious plane, let me point out that for the average
users, they don't know (or care) about IP addresses. In fact, for many users,
including all dialup users, and increasingly cable users too, their IP
address changes on a regular basis. (I'm a Cox Cable customer, and they
regularly renumber us - I just got a new IP address this morning, as a matter
of fact.)

So if you ask someone who's not a networking person for their "Internet
address", they're going to give you their emailbox - since those are the
labels that humans use - just like phone numbers.

Now, I can easily see some consumer-drive push to make email addresses more
portable, since letting everyone know when you change ISP's is exactly the
same problem as giving everyone your new cell number.

However, IP address portability is an issue which is inevitably (because most
it doesn't concern most people) going to have a much smaller interest base,
and so is much less likely to happen.

Now, if peer-peer applications become much more common, that might change -
and so any *wide* peer-peer application ought to make its configuration in
terms of DNS names (which we can map around), rather than IP addresses...


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