Plusnet tests sharing IPv4 addresses

ISP Plusnet looks for a solution to the dwindling number of IPv4 addresses left by asking customers to share

Plusnet is looking for customers to test out technology that would enable multiple users to share the same IP address.

The ISP wrote a post on its forum calling for volunteers to try out the Carrier Grade NAT (CGNAT) system technology as a way to combat the dwindling numbers of IPv4 addresses.

Although the industry has begun its move to the next version – IPv6 – a number of applications and devices are still not compatible, so Plusnet believes everyone will still need an IPv4 address “for the foreseeable future.”

CGNAT works like a home router that allows multiple devices to share the same IP address, but instead of devices, this trial will see multiple customers sharing one address instead.

“For most people they will never notice, most mobile operators already use CGNAT and so most applications will just work,” wrote Matt Taylor from Plusnet’s digital care team.

“The main problem is where you are hosting services on your broadband connection like hosting a website or hosting games (the kind of thing for which you set up port forwarding on your router).”

Customers willing to help in the trial will be given a special username and be asked to write down on a shared Google Doc any applications that do not work when using CGNAT. The username will allow them to switch between their normal service and the CGNAT service in case they need to revert back to do a certain task.

The trial itself is due to start in a couple of weeks and Plusnet plans to run it for three weeks.

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