University of Michigan Background
Internet Protocol v4 (IPv4) address space is rapidly becoming scarce. As this the complete allocation of available address blocks approaches, organizations will experience significant difficulties in expanding or growing their network operations. In this regard, adoption of IPv6, which promises to make available a large range of new, longer IP numbers, continues to lag due to its complexity and cost. IPv6 requires that new routing hardware and new network services protocols must be adopted. The radically different addressing schemes introduced by IPv6 are also difficult for network operators entrenched in the IPv4 paradigm to understand. Given the reluctance to adopt IPv6, several techniques have been developed to allow scarce IPv4 addresses to be shared by multiple devices. However, many of these techniques to date have led to compromises in security and undesirable changes in packet information and content.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a method and apparatus to expand and improve the utility of existing IPv4. In particular, the method of sharing the use of a single IPv4 address across several network end-hosts without the security and other drawbacks of Network Address Translation (NAT) and similar packet-modifying methods are provided. The address resolution system includes 4 main components: end-house software module, Network Communication or Transmission Protocol, Extensions to the local ARP3 Table, and Enhanced DNS Look-up Service. The system is able to maintain end-to-end connectivity of the network end-hosts such as a desktop, PDA, phone, or other computing device which utilizes IPv4 addresses.
Does not require a massive global hardware upgrade or dedicated appliances, saving cost and facilitating scaling
Allows IPv4 address sharing without the compromised security of other similar schemes
Extending the use of IPv4 addresses to multiple end-host network devices