This document describes the guidelines for IPv4 address allocation and
assignment in the
AFRINIC service region (Africa and Part of the
Indian Ocean) .They have been developed
through an open, bottom up policy development process of AFRINIC's Policy Working Group.
3.0 IPv4 space
4.0 Hierarchy of address space distribution
6.0 Goals of the Internet Registry System
7.0 Registration Requirements
8.0 Allocation policies and guidelines
9.0 Assignment policies and guidelines
10.0 Assignment Window
11.0 Record-keeping by LIR's
13.0 Useful Links
AFRINIC (The African Network Information Center) is a non-for-profit
independent organisation serving as one of the five Regional Internet
Registries (RIR's). Its service region incorporates the African continent and part of the Indian Ocean (Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros).
AFRINIC is responsible for the allocation of IP (Internet Protocol) address space,
AS (Autonomous System) Numbers and management of reverse domain
names within the region.
This document describes policies for the responsible management of
unique IPv4 address space in the AFRINIC region. The policies in this
document apply to all IPv4 allocations and assignments within the
AFRINIC service region and must be implemented by all AFRINIC's Local
This document does not describe policies related to IPv6, AS numbers,
private addresses and in-addr.arpa domains. These policies can be found
It does not describe conditions of AFRINIC membership decribed at:
nor does it examine the policies of the other Regional Internet
3.0 IPv4 address space
For the purpose of this document, IPv4 addresses are 32-bit binary
numbers (used as identifiers in the IPv4 protocol) and are usually in
a. Public/global IP addresses that are assigned to be globally unique
according to the goals described in section 6 of this document.
b. Private IPv4 address space is set aside for use in private IPv4
networks. Anyone may use these addresses in their private networks
without registration. Hosts with private IPv4 addresses cannot be
reached from the internet unless enabled through NAT (Network
Address Translation). Note that some Internet services may not work properly under NAT. See RFC 2993 for engineering / technical
implications of using NAT. RFC1918 also describes the blocks set
aside for private use.
c. IP ranges reserved for experiments: These are described in RFC3330
(http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3330.txt). Some ranges are also reserved
4.0 Hierarchy of address space distribution:
IP addresses are distributed in an hierarchical structure in which
IANA (The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) allocates address space
to AFRINIC, to be redistributed throughout the African region. AFRINIC
allocates address space to Local Internet Registries (LIRs) and also
delegates to them the authority to make assignments and sub-allocations. LIRs sub-allocate and assign address space to their
customers in accordance with the policies and procedures described in
The following terms and their definitions are of particular importance
to the understanding of the goals, environment, and policies described
in this document.
5.1 Internet Registry (IR)
An Internet Registry (IR) is an organization that is responsible for
distributing IP address space to its customers and for registering
those addresses. IRs are classified according to their primary
function and territorial scope within the hierarchical structure.
5.2 Regional Internet Registry (RIR)
Earlier, Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) were established under
the authority and initiatives of the internet communities in their
respective regions. Currently, the ICANN authorises establishment of
RIRs to serve and represent large geographical regions.
The primary role of RIRs is to manage and distribute public
Internet address space within their respective regions.
Currently, there are four RIRs: APNIC, ARIN,LACNIC,RIPE NCC.
AFRINIC is the fifth
5.3 Local Internet Registry (LIR)
A Local Internet Registry (LIR) is an IR that receives allocations
from an RIR and primarily assigns address space to 'end-users'. LIRs
are generally ISPs. Their customers are other ISPs and possibly
end-users. LIRs must be members of AFRINIC.
To "allocate" means to distribute address space to LIRs for the purpose
of subsequent distribution.
To "sub-allocate" means to distribute address space (by LIRs) to ISPs
for the purpose of subsequent distribution.
An assignment is an IP block given by an LIR to the end-users for
their own usage. To "assign" means to delegate address space to an ISP
or End User for specific use within the Internet infrastructure they
operate. Assignments must only be made for specific purposes
documented by specific organisations and are not to be sub-assigned to
5.7 PA (Provider Aggregatable) IP space:
PA space is what has been allocated to LIRs from which they can assign
or sub-allocate to end-users / downstream networks as non-portable
block. If the end-user / downstream network changes provider, the
address space assigned or sub-allocated by the previous service
provider (LIR) should be returned and the network renumbered.
5.8 PI (Provider Independent) IP space:
PI (or portable) space cannot be aggregated and can only be assigned
by RIR through an LIR. PI space is expensive to route and might not
be globally routable. Sub-allocations cannot be made from this type of
address space by the end user or LIR.
6.0 Goals of the Internet Registry System
It is AFRINIC's primary duty, as a custodian of a public resource, to
ensure that for all Ipv4 allocations and ssignments, the following
goals are met:
In order that each host on the public internet can be uniquely
identified, each public unicast IPv4 address must be globally unique.
Every assignment and allocation of public Internet address space must
be registered in the AFRINIC whois database. This is necessary to
ensure uniqueness and to provide information for Internet trouble
shooting at all levels.
Distributing Ipv4 addresses in a hierachical manner permits the
aggregation of routing information. This helps to ensure proper
operation of internet routing, and to limit the expansion of Internet
routing tables (RFC2519).
To maximize the lifetime of the public Internet address space
resource, addresses must be distributed according to actual need and
on the basis of immediate use. Therefore, stockpiling of address space
and maintaining reservations must, in general, be avoided.
6.2 Conflict of goals
The goals of conservation and aggregation often conflict with each
other. Some or all of the goals may occasionally be in conflict with
the interests of individual IRs or end-users. Therefore, IRs
evaluating requests for allocations and assignments must carefully
analyze all relevant considerations and must seek to balance the needs
of the applicant with the needs of the Internet community as a
whole. These policies are intended to help IRs balance these needs
fairly. Documenting the decision making process for each allocation or
assignment helps ensure the process remains transparent and honest.
In order to properly evaluate requests, an RIR must carefully examine
all relevant documentation relating to the networks in question. Such
documentation may include network engineering plans, subnetting plans,
descriptions of network topology, and descriptions of network routing
plans. All documentation should conform to a consistent standard and
any estimates and predictions that are documented must be realistic
All policies and practices relating to the use of public address space
will apply fairly and equitably to all existing and potential members
of AFRINIC regardless of their location, nationality, size,or any
7.0 Registration Requirements
a) All communication with AFRINIC will be in English.
b) All allocations and assignments will be registered in an AFRINIC
database. Any unregistered assignemnts / allocations / sub-allocaion will
be considered invalid. The registration data (name, IP block/range,
contacts, status, etc..) must be correct at all times. This is
necessary to support network operations.
8.0 Allocation policies and guidelines
AfrINIC allocates ranges of IPv4 addresses to Local Internet
Registries (LIRs). LIRs reassign or sub-allocate that space to their
An Allocation is a range of IPv4 addresses from which sub-allocations
and assignments are made. All LIR's assigning address space allocated
from AFRINIC are also advised to adopt a set of policies that are
consistent with the policies described in this document.
Determination of IP address space allocation size is the
responsibility of AFRINIC staff. In an effort to ensure that Classless
Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) is implemented and utilized as efficiently
as possible, AFRINIC will issue blocks of addresses on appropriate"CIDR-supported" bit boundaries. (CIDR "Classless Inter-Domain
Routing", is exlained in RFC1517-1959, http://www.ietf.org/rfc.htm).
If an LIR plans to exchange or transfer address space, it needs to
contact AFRINIC so that the changes are properly registered. The LIR
remains responsible for all the allocations registered in the AFRINIC
database until they have been transferred to another LIR or returned
to AFRINIC. LIR's must ensure that all policies are applied.
8.2 First Allocation
a) AFRINIC's minimum allocation is /22 or 1024 IPv4 addresses.
b) The requesting LIR must show an existing efficient utilization of
IP addresses from their upstream provider. Justification may be based
on a combination of immediate need and existing usage, in which case,
the existing assignments must be renumbered into the LIR's new
The verification of previous efficient utilisation is based on
assignments (and sub-allocations) registered in the RIPE, ARIN, LACNIC
and APNIC databases and only these registered assignments will be
8.3. Slow start mechanism for first allocations
AFRINIC shall apply a slow start mechanism to all new LIRs. With
respect to allocations made by AFRINIC, the first allocation an LIR
receives will be the size of the minimum practical allocation
described in Section 8.2 (a) unless otherwise justified.
The slow start policy is used by all RIR's to prevent allocations of
large blocks of address space that may then remain substantially
unassigned. AFRINIC implements the slow start mechanism in a
consistent and fair manner for every LIR, and will apply the same
principles and standards to every applicant for address space.
8.4 Additional Allocation
An LIR may receive an additional allocation when about 80% of all the
address space currently allocated to it has been used in valid
assignments and/or sub-allocations. A new allocation can also be made
if single assignment or sub-allocation requires more addresses than
those currently held by the LIR.
Reservations are not considered as valid assignments or
sub-allocations. It may be useful for internal aggregation to keep
some IP blocks free for future growth. These internal reservations are
however not counted as valid usage and must be assigned or
sub-allocated before requesting for an additional allocation.
AFRINIC will always try to allocate contiguous address ranges,
allowing the LIR to minimise the number of route announcements it
makes. However, it will not always be possible to allocate a range
contiguous with the LIR's previous allocation.
The minimum size of a sub-allocation is /24. It allows a reasonable
number of small assignments to be made by a downstream ISP. An LIR may not sub-allocate IPv4 space above its suballocation window
(see section 10.0 for sub-allocation windows).
LIR's may make sub-allocations to multiple downstream
ISP's. (Downstream ISP's efficiently using a sub-allocation qualify to
receive a /22 allocation should they want to become an LIR).
The LIR is responsible for ensuring that address space allocated to
it, and subsequently, the address space that it sub-allocates, is used
in accordance with the community's policies and guidelines.
LIRs are advised to make use of the slow-start mechanism when making
sub-allocations to downstream ISPs. Here, the LIR ensures that the
space sub-allocated is efficiently used and the LIR can also monitor
and determine the ability of the downstream ISP to operate within the
policies set by the community.
Sub-allocations form part of an LIR's aggregatable space. Therefore,
an LIR should ensure that IP space is not retained by the downstream
ISP if the reseller ceases to obtain connectivity from the LIR's
network (sub-allocations are non-portable).
9.0 Assignment policies and guidelines
LIR's must request approval from AFRINIC approval for all sub-allocations above
their Sub-Allocation Window (see section 10.0 for SAW policy).
The following guidelines are intended to help LIRs and end-users in
their search for equitable compromises:
The information required by AFRINIC to justify an end-user's IP
address requirements include addressing needs, network infrastructure
and future plans. Such information is required when an LIR is
requesting IP space for their end-users at the time of sending in the
request. In order to ensure that previous sub-allocation are not duplicated, the current address space usage is also required. This information is essential in making the appropriate sub-allocation
approvals, and the level of detail will depend on the size of the
request and complexity of the network. The LIR should ensure that the
necessary information is completed before making a sub-allocation
request to AFRINIC. Request forms are available at
When making sub-allocation from their SAW, LIR's should also ensure
that such information is given by the end-user.
9.2 Network infrastructure (of LIR) vs End-User networks
IP addresses used solely for connecting an end-user to a service
provider (e.g., point-to-point links) are considered as part of the
service provider's infrastructure. Such addresses should only be
registered as part of the service provider's infrastructure. When an
end user has a network using public address space, this space must be
registered with the contacts of the end-user. If the end-user is an
individual rather than an organisation, the space may be registered
with the contact information of the service provider but with the
end-user referenced in the AFRINIC whois database object.
Immediate utilisation of assignments should be at least 25% of the
assigned space. After one year, unless special circumstances are
defined, it should be at least 50%.
9.4 Reservations not supported
End-users are not permitted to reserve address space based on long
term plans. This violates the goal of conservation and fragments the
address space when initial forecasts are not met. If an LIR wants to
assign address space for customers, it must make the assignments from
any unallocated or unassigned address space it currently holds. For
the purposes evaluating allocation requests, space reserved by an LIR
for other customers is considered unused.
9.5 Validity of an assignment
Assignments remain valid as long as the original criteria on which the
assignment was based are still in place and the assignment is
registered in the AFRINIC database. An assignment is therefore invalid
if it is not registered in the database and if the purpose for which
it was registered has changed or no longer holds.
This is replacing IP addresses on a one-to-one basis. Valid
assignments can be replaced with the same number of addresses if the
original assignment criteria are still met. The addresses to be
replaced must still be in use. When a renumbering request exceeds the
LIR's sub-allocation window, the request should be sent to AFRINIC for
A period of three months is normally considered sufficient to migrate
a network to the new IP space. Once a network has been renumbered,
AFRINIC staff will remove the old assignment from the AFRINIC
database. In case the three months period is not sufficient, the LIR
should inform AFRINIC about the additional time they might take to
10.0 Sub-Allocation Window (SAW)
An sub-allocation window (SAW) refers to the maximum number of IPv4
addresses that the LIR may sub-allocate to the end-users without
seeking approval from AFRINIC. The SAW size is expressed in CIDR
AFRINIC will review sub-allocation made by the LIR's using their SAW
in to ensure that policies are followed correctly. LIR's should also
ensure that documentation for sub-allocation made using the SAW be
similar to that requested for larger requests.
Below are a few guidelines for the SAW:
10.1 All new LIRs have a SAW of zero. All sub-allocations will need
prior approval by AFRINIC.
10.2 The LIR cannot make any sub-allocation to the end-user above
their SAW in a 12 months period (1 year). At the end of a
calendar year from the approval of an SAW, the SAW is refreshed
for one more year. In case the LIR's SAW is exhausted for a
particular end-user, approval must be sought from AFRINIC for
any other sub-allocation to the same end-user.
10.3 LIR's are welcome to approach AFRINIC for a review of their
SAW. They may also seek a second opinion from AFRINIC even for a
sub-allocation that could be made with their SAW if they
chose. Before a SAW is raised, the following will be considered:
o All required documentation is normally presented.
o Previous sub-allocation assignments from this sub-allocation
are all registered in the database correctly.
o Current SAW has not been misused/abused.
10.4 New LIR's are advised to train their contacts to handle address
space assignments according to the policies and procedures in
this document. If, due to inexperienced contacts at the LIR,
errors due to poor judgement consistently happen, the SAW may be
lowered or removed to allow AFRINIC staff to assist in training
the LIR's staff in the AFRINIC community's policies
11.0 Record keeping by LIRs
LIR's must keep and maintain records of any documentation regarding
assignments and sub-allocations to end users. It is needed for future
reference when evaluating requests from the same organisation and for
any audits by AFRINIC. These documents should be kept electronically
for easier access. It's advisable that these records should include
but not be limited to:
o The original request.
o Supporting documentation.
o Related correspondence between LIR and end-user.
o Decision of the assignment, and reasons behind any unusual decision.
o Role of person that made the decision.
AFRINIC - African Network Information Centre
APNIC - Asia Pacific Network Information Centre
ARIN - American Registry for Internet Numbers
SAW - Sub-allocation Window
IANA - Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
ICANN - Internet Community for Assigned Names and Numbers
IP - Internet Protocol
LACNIC - Latin American and Caribbean Network Information Centre
LIR - Local Internet Registry
PA - Provider Aggregateable
PI - Provider Independent
RIR - Regional Internet Registry
13.0 Useful links
RFC documents: http://www.ietf.org/rfc.html
IANA web site: http://www.iana.org