Lewis & Clark College
“Working with IPv4.GLOBAL has been a great experience. They have been very thorough in helping us along the way answering all of our questions, working with our executive team, and providing guidance on what to expect from the current market.”
– Trevor Dodson of Lewis & Clark College
Lewis & Clark College was founded in 1864 as Albany Collegiate Institute. Over the years it moved to Portland, Oregon, changed its name, established a college of education and a law school. Today, Lewis & Clark is a private institution with a public conscience, a residential campus with global reach. Students and faculty throughout all three of Lewis & Clark’s schools—the undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Education and Counseling, and the School of Law—pursue knowledge and understanding by combining classic liberal learning with forward-thinking collaboration.
IPv4.GLOBAL first approached the college in 2018, having researched the school’s IPv4 address holdings. But knowing what had been assigned to the school was only the beginning. The process of discovering the uses and needs of the college involved considerable investigation. Over time, however, it became clear that public IP addresses of important value were deployed to perform functions that did not require them. A steady but determined process began to free up those valuable addresses.
Everything connected to a network is identified with an IP address. But there are multiple ways to do so. The most widely understood is the “public” IP address. In this address, the unique identifier can be reached from anywhere on the internet because it is unique.
A “private” IP address can simultaneously be used in many locations by many devices under different administrative control. These addresses are not unique. The devices using private addresses are not directly accessible publicly. (Since many devices use the same identifier, knowing which one is sought would be impossible on a global network.) The advantage of a privately-used IP is that the same one can be deployed many times. It’s cheaper.
When a private IP address must communicate with the outside world via the internet (that is beyond a private, closed network) it does so using a Network Address Translator (NAT). This replaces the private IP address with its own public and unique address on outgoing packets. It rewrites the destination address on incoming packets to the private IP when it forwards them to your local device.
Lewis & Clark
Lewis & Clark at first organized a number of devices on their system using public IPv4 addresses. They had an abundance of them (over 65,000) and all had been allocated to the school without charge. It was, therefore, easy to use this supply to identify devices. They used public IPs on many of the device types where private IPs are now commonly used:
- Printers, copiers, faxes and scanners
- Security cameras
- Data storage systems, and
- VoIP phones
In order to free up those public IP addresses for sale, their system required the renumbering of all the devices that – in effect – didn’t need public IPs. This required the installation of two key systems:
- An IPAM (IP Address Management) system managing which addresses are used
- A NAT that provides an internet access gateway for the devices that need it.
The process proceeded in an orderly, methodical way, taking advantage of hardware retirements and other internal changes. It required considerable effort. The process began with the NAT’ing of guest and resident networks. These networks held the most public IP’s and did not require them in order to function properly. Once the NAT was in place, VLAN’s were systematically moved over to private IP spaces using IPAM and DHCP.
The next, and more complicated step was to identify all systems (routers, switches, and servers) which ‘talked’ to the Internet. For this, Lewis & Clark IT team examined existing firewall rules to identify systems that needed to communicate inside and outside of the network. A detailed plan was put in place to change every publicly facing IP on these identified systems. This was by far the longest and most arduous task. Change control, test plans, communications, brief outages were all part of this effort.
Once the IT team felt all of the public facing IP’s were changed to private, and that systems were working as expected, the final piece was to stop the advertisement of the public IP’s to the Internet. It was thought that this would expose systems on the network that the IT team wasn’t aware of which needed to communicate to the Internet, but post change there were literally no reports of issues.
It is important to note that not all public IP’s were changed on internal systems. For an example, printers that don’t communicate outside the network were not migrated to the private IP space. Since they aren’t being publicly routed, the IT team can eventually (through attrition) migrate these types of devices rather than spending resources now to do it.
Finally, as part of the final step to prepare for the sale, the IT team worked to resolve outstanding SORBS listed IP’s. This, in essence, cleaned the public IP space for the purchaser.
Trevor Dodson of Lewis & Clark College was deeply involved in the process. He noted that, “Working with IPv4.GLOBAL has been a great experience. They have been very thorough in helping us along the way answering all of our questions, working with our executive team, and providing guidance on what to expect from the current market.”