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AS Numbers unused/sitting for long periods of time

Dear James,

On Tue, Jan 02, 2018 at 10:46:35PM +0000, James Breeden wrote:
> Before I take this to the ARIN PPML, wanted to get NANOG's thoughts.
> I'm amazed at the number of AS numbers that are assigned, but not
> actively being used. I'm not talking just like they are offline for a
> week or month, this is complete non-use of the AS in the global
> routing table within *years*. They are completely abandoned resources
> - Whois data is inaccurate by 5-10 years, no routeviews data in the
> same time period, the owning organization (if you can find it)
> scratches their heads about responding whether they use it or not,
> etc.
> I know we're currently not in a push to get AS numbers or close to
> exhaustion, but I do believe that people who have global AS numbers
> should have a requirement to use them or return them to the global
> pool. Am I the only one thinking this?

The most important property of ASNs assigned by RIRs is that they are
globally _unique_. This doesn't mean they are globally visible.

I worry that a proposal like this will introduce quite some work for all
parties involved, for no obvious benefit. As you point out yourself we
are nowhere close to exhaustion.

> And before you come back with "Well they may be using it internally
> where it doesn't need to be in the GRT" - that's why we have Private
> AS numbers.

I beg to differ, private ASNs are useful when you control all aspects of
the administrative domain, but with M&A in mind, using globally unique
ASNs can be quite beneficial. Or, maybe as the result of M&A you end up
having multiple ASNs inside your network, but globally only one ASN is
visible (confederations).

> I.e. some form of ARIN or global policy that basically says "If AS
> number not routed or whois updated or used in 24 months, said AS
> number can be public noticed via mailing list and website and then
> revoked and reissued to a pending, approved AS request"

Uses of invisible ASNs include: lab networks, route servers, GRX
exchanges, route collectors, etc. The Internet is more than what
routeviews/RIS can see.

All pending, approved AS requests can immediately be fullfilled, there
is no shortage of ASNs.

> Just thinking aloud. Happy New Year all!

Same to you :-)

Kind regards,