Embedding Globally Routable Internet Addresses Considered Harmful

Document Type Expired Internet-Draft (individual)
Author Dave Plonka 
Last updated 2003-10-21
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This Internet-Draft is no longer active. A copy of the expired Internet-Draft can be found at


Vendors of consumer electronics and network gear have produced and sold hundreds of thousands of Internet hosts with globally routable Internet Protocol addresses embedded within their products' firmware. These products are now in operation world-wide and primarily include, but are not necessarily limited to, low-cost routers and middleboxes for personal or residential use. This 'hard-coding' of globally routable IP addresses within the host's firmware presents significant problems to the operation of the Internet and to the management of its address space. This document means to clarify best current practices in the Internet community. It denouces the practice of embedding references to unique, globally routable IP addresses in Internet hosts, describes some of the resulting problems, and considers selected alternatives. It is also intended to remind the Internet community of the ephemeral nature of unique, globally routable IP addresses and that the assignment and use of such addresses is temporary and therefore should not be used in fixed configurations.


Dave Plonka (plonka@doit.wisc.edu)

(Note: The e-mail addresses provided for the authors of this Internet-Draft may no longer be valid.)