We have heard that IPv4 addresses are running out for more than two decades, but companies still prefer to buy IPv4 addresses at the price of gold rather than adopt the IPv6 protocol.
Nonetheless, the depletion of IPv4 addresses is real, and has led researchers from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to propose an insane solution to free up 16 million IPs.
What the new draft of the IETF is to reduce the range of reserved addresses from 127/8 to 127/16, converting addresses 127.1.0.0 into public Internet IPs to 127,255,255,255.
IP addresses in the range 127/8 are known as private loopback addresses, and are reserved in IETF standards for running network applications on the local machine.
127.0.0.1 (“localhost”) is the most common loopback address. The others are hardly used, but converting 16 million of them to external could cause problems. According Micro servants:
At the systems level, it would affect lazy administrators who check 127 instead of 127.0.0.1 in their scripts. Also to certain databases, which to restrict permissions to localhost sometimes check 127 instead of 127.0.0.1. Both are problems of administrators with a tendency to not do things well, so they would have it well deserved.
At the network level, people or companies that acquire these IP addresses (because IP addresses are bought) may suffer problems because part of the Internet does not see them directly, considering that all those that begin with 127 are private addresses.
The idea of reserving the 127/8 range came from one of the Internet’s fathers, Jon Postel, in 1981. Postel’s policy was to reserve the first and last networks of each class, and it doesn’t seem like he had a specific plan on how use 127/8. Today that number of addresses is wasted, and that is why IPv6 assigns only one local loopback address (:: 1).