As reported in domain incite, Microsoft paid $7.5 million for control of the 700,000 IP addresses that had been assigned to Nortel.
I remember that there was a time when Nortel Networks was responsible for an entire class-A IP address space. As the company's Internet Evangelist from 1995-1997, I used this fact in my regular presentations, talks and writings at the time about how the Internet was going to change the industry and society.
Despite the ignomy of being bankrupt and then sold for parts, the pride of Canadian information technology research was one of only a few enterprises with hefty research units that received a class-A address (IBM and AT&T at the time were two others) when the Internet address space was being designed in the 1980s and early 1990s. As far as I can tell, class A refers to the addresses that start with one of the 255 possible numbers in the first block of the 4-part IPv4 address: 47.xxx.xxx.xxx. You can learn more about IP v4 addressing here.
This sale was the first recorded sale of IP addresses since the IANA gave out the last IP v4 address block earlier this year. The Internet service provider industry has no choice left, but to begin the process of migrating to IP v4 which offers a significantly greater address space, with built in security and roaming capabilities. IP v6 has been on the books for the better part of a decade and was informally called IPng (IP - next generation) in honor of the cast of the Star Trek Next Generation TV show. This seems so outdated now.
Proponents of a [[National Broadband Plan]] argue that our national competitiveness depends on the deeper penetration of high speed Internet services, which can only be achieved with massive subsidized investments to the local, rural telephone and cable companies that service remote and rural markets in the heartland of America.
The quality of network service is increasingly a big concern for many users and for many applications. That's because more and more people are being exposed to real-time applications running over IP. Sure, some of these are store and forward apps - Xbox-based Netflicks or Zune streaming - and some are real-time - Xbox-based live game playing, VoIP and video conferencing.
Either way, the user's experience is negatively impacted when there is a network outage or congestion. My own Xbox-Netflicks experience has been degraded in recent weeks for no apparent reason. First, I thought it was my physical LAN connection, so I made a new Ethernet connector.
Then, I thought it was my DNS configuration, so I posted my own DNS server and my cableco's DNS server addresses.
Now, I think it's just congestion on the cableco network at a certain time of day, near 4 pm where there may be many kids in the neighborhood playing Xbox live... I'm keeping a log of when the service interrupts so I can speak intelligently about the problem and maybe even see patterns over time.
But, this Internet Health Report tool from Keynote Systems provides a simple mechanism to view inter-network connection quality. The tool presents the matrix of latency results measured in ms, and averaged over 1 hour, four hours or 24 hours. Similarly, I can click on the metric drop down box and choose to see network availability in % over the past 1 hour, four hours or 24 hours. Or, packet loss over the same period.
Users can click on any one origin-destination pair and see all three results for that combination.
This kind of independent, third-party service performance tool will increasingly be useful as users ask the question, what's wrong with my ____ and what can I do, if anything, to fix it? Users will use it to choose carriers or at least integrate it into their troubleshooting practices.