Address management objectives

The following goals of address space management were formulated by the Internet community and reflect the mutual interest of all of its members in ensuring that the Internet is able to function and grow to the maximum extent possible.


Every assignment and allocation of address space must be guaranteed as globally unique. This is an absolute requirement for ensuring that every public host on the Internet can be uniquely identified.


Wherever possible, address space should be distributed hierarchically according to the topology of network infrastructure. This is necessary to permit the aggregation of routing information by ISPs and to limit the expansion of Internet routing tables.


To maximize the lifetime of the available resources, address space must be distributed according to actual need and must be for immediate use. Stockpiling address space and maintaining reservations run contrary to this goal. Conservation also implies efficiency. Therefore, all users of address space should adopt techniques such as Variable Length Subnet Masking (VLSM) and appropriate technologies that ensure the address space is not used wastefully.


All policies and practices relating to the use of address space should apply fairly and equitably to all existing and potential members of the Internet community, regardless of location, nationality, size, or any other factor.

Conflict of goals

The goals of conservation and aggregation often conflict with each other. Also, some or all of the goals may occasionally conflict with the interests of individual Internet Registries (IRs) or end-users.

Therefore, IRs evaluating requests for address space must carefully analyse all relevant considerations and try to balance the needs of the requestor with the needs of the Internet community as a whole.