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ISP/LIR Guidelines


Recommended Best Practices to AfriNIC region LIRs and ISPs for managing and assigning IPv4 address space to their customers.


There have been several comments from the community regarding AfriNIC's position on the issue of IP address assignment practices by LIRs/ISPs to their customers. It is important to let the community know that much as the global pool of IPv4 address space is nearing exhaustion very fast and soon, the IPv4 address consumption rates in Africa are still low, and consequently, there is no apparent scarcity of IPv4 addresses in Africa yet. It is common practice for LIRs/ISPs to run NAT and equally encourage their customers to do the same on the false fact that there are either no IP addresses, or that it is hard to get the addresses.

We therefore must inform the community, and LIRs/ISPs plus network operators at large that there are enough IPv4 addresses to be allocated based on justified need and other policy requirements, and that AfriNIC indeed discourages the inconsiderate and abusive NAT usage. If any of the LIRs/ISP's customers requires globally unicast IPv4 addresses, the LIR/ISP should be in a position to assign the addresses if available, or request more from AfriNIC in order to meet the customers' needs.

We have compiled several guidelines (from existing IPv4 allocation and assignment policy documents) that can help LIRs/ISPs and their customers to better understand and implement good IP address management practices: 

  • A customer requiring an IPv4 address space must justify their request to the LIR/ISP, the LIR/ISP must keep the justification on file, as AfriNIC might ask for the information as part of a routine audit when the LIR/ISP asks for more space from AfriNIC in future.
  • The LIR/ISP can go to AFRINIC to get more address space, provided the request is justified within policy stipulations.
  • The LIR/ISP should not refuse reasonable address space requests from customers, but may ask AfriNIC for a second opinion while evaluating a request. The LIR/ISP may even ask the customer to directly consult with AFRINIC.
  • If the customer claims to have their own address space, the ISP should verify the claim, by:
    • Querying the appropriate whois database.
    • Contacting the source RIR where necessary.
  • Regarding the “cost” of IP addresses, AFRINIC informs the community that IP addresses are nobody’s property and cannot be sold as a commodity. We however do understand that some ISPs may charge some fee to offset any administrative overhead incurred as a result of assigning and managing IP addresses for their customers. We recommend that any such charges should be reasonable in comparison with the membership fees charged by AFRINIC. 
  • AfriNIC has no control over routing announcements, but recommends that each address block should be announced in BGP as a single aggregate. More-specific routes announced for traffic engineering purposes should preferably not be propagated throughout the Internet, and this can be achieved through the use of BGP communities such as the "no-export" community.

If you are a typical end-site or customer and may need globally unique IPv4 addresses from your ISP:

  • You can ask your LIR/ISP for address space, and must justify the request.
  • If you want an IPv4 /24 or larger, you can:
    • Either request and possibly get it from your LIR/ISP (recommended option), OR:
    • You can get it directly from AfriNIC, under the policy for IP address assignments to end-sites, for the possible reasons that: 
      • You want to be independent from your ISP's IP address space, to avoid returning the ISP's IP addresses and renumbering your networks when you change ISPs.
      • Your ISP will not assign you the required IP address space. 
  • You want to be independent from your ISP’s IP address space, to avoid returning the ISP’s IP addresses and renumbering your networks when you change ISPs.
  • Your ISP will not assign you the required IP address space.
    • Routability of the prefix assigned by AFRINIC is not guaranteed, and is the responsibility of the end-site.

If you are an ISP:

  • You can request for a sub-allocation or assignment from your LIR or upstream ISP and provide proper justification if requested.
  • Downstream ISPs efficiently utilizing an assignment or sub-allocation qualify to receive their own /22 allocation from AFRINIC under the current policy.

Instances where a customer can refer their ISP to this document, or ask AFRINIC to “mediate”:

  • The ISP persistently advises or recommends the use of NAT and eventually refuses to assign the requested IP addresses when the customer clearly justifies the need for globally unicast IP addresses.
  • The ISP refuses to route address space, notably PI address space acquired by the customer directly from an RIR, like AFRINIC.
  • The ISP is charging outrageous prices for the requested IP addresses.

AFRINIC will investigate to ensure that the LIR/ISP is serving customers according to the Registration Services Agreement signed between the LIR/ISP and AFRINIC.

It is important for customers to know that they:

  • Can choose a different ISP.
  • Can add information about such an ISP/LIR to a forum for complaints from the community, so other customers will be able to make more informed decisions about which ISP to use.


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