What makes him powerful:
John Curran, CEO & President, ARIN
As CEO and President of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, one of five RIRs (Regional Internet Registries) in the world, John Curran holds sway over the assignment and management of IP addresses throughout North America.
In laymen's terms, ARIN was established in 1997 to provide a sort of stewardship of Internet numbers, something IANA (the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) had handled in the past. As the popularity of the Internet grew, a decision was made to separate management of domain names from management of IP addresses; ARIN was created to handle the latter.
The separation not only simplified Internet address assignment but also enabled more efficient management of the way IP addresses were allocated beyond the IANA pool--something few end users knew or cared about until early this year, when the last block of IPv4 addresses was distributed to RIPE NCC (ARIN's counterpart in the EMEA region). The RIRs played a role in extending the availability of addresses.
"Before ARIN's existence, many organizations received large blocks of IPv4 address space that they may not have been able to justify today under ARIN's community-defined policy set," Curran said in a 2010 Data Center Knowledge interview.
On top of registration and resource allocation services, ARIN develops policy for Internet number resources, provides transaction and routing information, and educates Internet service providers. It's all part of keeping IP networks running smoothly, and as the transition of Internet providers from the depleted IPv4 addressing protocol to IPv6 protocol heats up, ARIN continues to play a central role.
Many Internet users don't know that IPv6 has been around and available for well over a decade--it isn't some new, untested protocol that was just implemented.
"The IETF started work on IPv6 in 1993 and it was in 1999 that it was production ready and was put into server and desktop operating systems," said Curran in a previous interview with FierceTelecom. "In the early 2000s a lot of people were looking at this and saying 'wow, this is neat and new but no one had a reason to deploy it."
Curran has plenty of experience to work from. He's been a CTO at several notable technology companies including ServerVault, XO Communications, and Internet service provider BBN (one of the earliest ISPs, acquired by GTE). He also participated in the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force), and is a founding member of ARIN's Board of Trustees.
As the transition to the IPv6 addressing protocol continues, there's no doubt that Curran will continue to play a role in the ongoing growth and development of the Internet.