Close up of ethernet cables over IP address blocks

How Educational Institutions Sell Unused IPv4 Addresses for Millions

Guide to Selling University IPv4 Addresses

The demand for IPv4 addresses (addresses that allow devices to communicate on the internet) has reached an all-time high. Universities across the country including Penn State, MIT and Harvard and many others are selling large blocks of IPv4 addresses that they do not need (ie. are not using) for millions of dollars.

Yet, most institutions are not yet aware of the amount of unused IPv4 they have, and how much capital they could gain to help support growth initiatives. This article will break down how schools and universities can start selling IPv4 addresses that they aren’t using in a way that maximizes value and eliminates roadblocks in the complex trading process.

Why is IPv4 Becoming More Valuable?

The scarcity of IPv4 addresses is driving up their value as demand continues to rise. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has run out of new IPv4 addresses to allocate, making it more difficult for organizations to obtain new IPv4s for their devices. This has resulted in a high demand for the limited supply these addresses, driving up their value in the marketplace.

Recent data collected by IPv4.Global shows:

  • Over 270 IPv4 transactions have been made by educational institutions selling blocks of unused IPv4 between 2016 and 2023
  • An average of 19 blocks (groups of many IPv4 addresses) are sold at a time by universities
    • Even one block of IPv4 can be worth upwards of many thousands
  • In 2015, only 4 transactions were made by universities selling IPv4
    • 37 were made in 2022, showing an 825% increase in marketplace interest
  • The highest bidders for IPv4 addresses are from the following industries: telecommunications, IT, electrical cooperatives, and utilities

Why Do Universities Have Unused IPv4?

  • IPv4 was acquired in excess. In the early days of IPv4, addresses were only given to educational institutions in large blocks equivalent to todays’ /24, /16 and /8. Since they weren’t able to acquire only the specific amounts of IPv4 they required, most wound up with more addresses than they needed.
  • They are unaware of the amount of unused IPv4 they have. Many school executives simply aren’t aware of the value they’re sitting on due to not being involved or familiar with the IP marketplace.
  • Some schools are upgrading to IPv6. The newest version of IP addresses, IPv6 (“version 6”), is being slowly accepted at educational institutions. This is neither simple nor quick but is gathering some momentum. As institutions upgrade to IPv6, they are able to sell their previous IPv4 space, freeing up unused IPs that can be sold in the marketplace.

Guide to Selling University IPv4 Addresses

With the increased demand for IPv4 addresses, schools and universities sitting on unused IPv4 have a valuable opportunity to generate funds for their campuses. Selling IPv4 can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to sell unused IPv4:

  1. Identify your unused IPv4 space. The first step in selling IPv4 is to identify the amount of unused IPv4 space your campus or organization has. This information can usually be found in your network administration records.
  2. Determine the value of your IPv4. The value of IPv4 is determined by market demand, with the most in-demand address blocks fetching the highest prices. A trusted IPv4 broker, like IPv4.Global, includes on its website historical pricing data which can help with this determination.
  3. Consult with a trusted IPv4 broker. Working with a trusted IPv4 broker is essential in selling your unused IPv4 space. IPv4 brokers find the best buyers for your IPv4 and handle the complex transfer process.
  4. Transfer your unused IPv4 space. The next step is to transfer the unused IPv4 space to the buyer. This process is often handled (in whole or in part) by the IPv4 broker, who will ensure that the transfer complies with all industry regulations and standards.
  5. Receive payment. Once the transfer of your unused IPv4 space is complete, you’ll receive payment for your addresses.

Consult with a University IPv4 Broker

When it comes to selling IP, it’s always in an institution’s best interest to work with a trusted IPv4 broker like IPv4.Global.

IPv4.Global is currently helping schools and universities across the country by guiding them through the process in a way that helps them identify the value of unused IPv4 addresses they’re sitting on and using their expertise to get them the best possible prices.

The Evolution of IPv4: From Early Development to Exhaustion

The internet’s device-identification and location system dates from 1973, with the creation of the first version. However, it wasn’t until the development of Internet Protocol version Four (IPv4) by ARPA in 1981 that the system gained widespread use. IPv4 offers approximately 4.3 billion possible unique identifying number configurations, which was considered more than sufficient at the time.

But as the number of connected devices and services has grown exponentially, the system has faced exhaustion. To manage the numbering convention, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) became the central authority, coordinating IP addressing and domain name management. In 2011, IANA distributed its last IPv4 addresses to the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs).

Understanding IPv4 Exhaustion and Its Impact on Global Connectivity

IPv4 exhaustion refers to the moment when the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) ran out of available IPv4 addresses, which could be assigned to Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) and then to connected devices worldwide. This depletion inevitably filtered down to the regional distributors of addresses, the RIRs mentioned above. They are:

  • ARIN – American Registry for Internet Numbers
  • APNIC – Asia Pacific Network Information Centre
  • RIPE – Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Center
  • LACNIC – Internet Address Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean

All four ran out of their respective supplies of available IP addresses in subsequent years.

As a result, the low supply of IPv4 addresses has driven up prices to unprecedented levels. This scarcity has become one of the most significant factors impacting global connectivity, leading to waiting lists and extended wait times for IP address allocation.

Exclusive Benefits for E&I Members

IPv4.Global offers exclusive benefits for members of E&I Cooperative Services.

E&I provides these institutions with a wide range of cost-saving solutions and services, including contract negotiation, procurement, and supply chain management. They also provide members with:

  • Access to a vast network of contracts and suppliers, reducing the time and effort required to source essential goods and services.
  • Contract negotiation and procurement services, ensuring that members receive the best possible prices and terms from suppliers.
  • Supply chain management, streamlining processes and improving the overall efficiency of institutional purchasing operations.
  • Access to training and educational opportunities, providing members with the tools and knowledge they need to operate more effectively.

About the Author

Hilco is a market-leading broker for purchases and sales of IPv4 addresses worldwide. Through the Hilco Streambank contract, E&I members generate revenue through sales of IPv4 address blocks and purchase what they need.


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