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PEP: 3144
Title: IP Address Manipulation Library for the Python Standard Library
Version: d0b969132758
Last-Modified:  2016-05-03 12:03:16 +0300 (Tue, 03 May 2016)
Author: Peter Moody <pmoody at>
BDFL-Delegate: Nick Coghlan
Discussions-To:  <ipaddr-py-dev at>
Status: Final
Type: Standards Track
Content-Type: text/plain
Created: 6-Feb-2012
Python-Version: 3.3


    This PEP proposes a design and for an IP address manipulation module for

PEP Acceptance:

    This PEP was accepted by Nick Coghlan on the 15th of May, 2012.


    Several very good IP address modules for python already exist.
    The truth is that all of them struggle with the balance between
    adherence to Pythonic principals and the shorthand upon which
    network engineers and administrators rely.  ipaddress aims to
    strike the right balance.


    The existence of several Python IP address manipulation modules is
    evidence of an outstanding need for the functionality this module
    seeks to provide.


    PEP 3144 and ipaddr have been up for inclusion before.  The
    version of the library specified here is backwards incompatible
    with the version on PyPI and the one which was discussed before.
    In order to avoid confusing users of the current ipaddr, I've
    renamed this version of the library "ipaddress".

    The main differences between ipaddr and ipaddress are:

    * ipaddress *Network classes are equivalent to the ipaddr *Network
      class counterparts with the strict flag set to True.

    * ipaddress *Interface classes are equivalent to the ipaddr
      *Network class counterparts with the strict flag set to False.

    * The factory functions in ipaddress were renamed to disambiguate
      them from classes.

    * A few attributes were renamed to disambiguate their purpose as
      well. (eg. network, network_address)

    * A number of methods and functions which returned containers in ipaddr now
      return iterators. This includes, subnets, address_exclude,
      summarize_address_range and collapse_address_list.

    Due to the backwards incompatible API changes between ipaddress and ipaddr,
    the proposal is to add the module using the new provisional API status:


    Relevant messages on python-dev:



    The ipaddr module defines a total of 6 new public classes, 3 for
    manipulating IPv4 objects and 3 for manipulating IPv6 objects.
    The classes are as follows:

    IPv4Address/IPv6Address - These define individual addresses, for
    example the IPv4 address returned by an A record query for ( or the IPv6 address returned by a
    AAAA record query for (2001:4860:4001:801::1011).

    IPv4Network/IPv6Network - These define networks or groups of
    addresses, for example the IPv4 network reserved for multicast use
    ( or the IPv6 network reserved for multicast
    (ff00::/8, wow, that's big).

    IPv4Interface/IPv6Interface - These hybrid classes refer to an
    individual address on a given network.  For example, the IPV4
    address on the network could be referred to
    as  Likewise, the IPv6 address 2001:DB8::1 on the
    network 2001:DB8::/96 could be referred to as 2001:DB8::1/96.
    It's very common to refer to addresses assigned to computer
    network interfaces like this, hence the Interface name.

    All IPv4 classes share certain characteristics and methods; the
    number of bits needed to represent them, whether or not they
    belong to certain special IPv4 network ranges, etc.  Similarly,
    all IPv6 classes share characteristics and methods.

    ipaddr makes extensive use of inheritance to avoid code
    duplication as much as possible.  The parent classes are private,
    but they are outlined here:

    _IPAddrBase - Provides methods common to all ipaddr objects.

    _BaseAddress - Provides methods common to IPv4Address and

    _BaseInterface - Provides methods common to IPv4Interface and
    IPv6Interface, as well as IPv4Network and IPv6Network (ipaddr
    treats the Network classes as a special case of Interface).

    _BaseV4 - Provides methods and variables (eg, _max_prefixlen)
    common to all IPv4 classes.

    _BaseV6 - Provides methods and variables common to all IPv6 classes.

    Comparisons between objects of differing IP versions results in a
    TypeError [1].  Additionally, comparisons of objects with
    different _Base parent classes results in a TypeError.  The effect
    of the _Base parent class limitation is that IPv4Interface's can
    be compared to IPv4Network's and IPv6Interface's can be compared
    to IPv6Network's.

Reference Implementation:

    The current reference implementation can be found at:

    Or see the tarball to include the README and unittests.

    More information about using the reference implementation can be
    found at:


    [1] Appealing to authority is a logical fallacy, but Vint Cerf is an
        authority who can't be ignored. Full text of the email

        I have seen a substantial amount of traffic about IPv4 and
        IPv6 comparisons and the general consensus is that these are
        not comparable.

        If we were to take a very simple minded view, we might treat
        these as pure integers in which case there is an ordering but
        not a useful one.

        In the IPv4 world, "length" is important because we take
        longest (most specific) address first for routing.  Length is
        determine by the mask, as you know.

        Assuming that the same style of argument works in IPv6, we
        would have to conclude that treating an IPv6 value purely as
        an integer for comparison with IPv4 would lead to some really
        strange results.

        All of IPv4 space would lie in the host space of 0::0/96
        prefix of IPv6. For any useful interpretation of IPv4, this is
        a non-starter.

        I think the only sensible conclusion is that IPv4 values and
        IPv6 values should be treated as non-comparable.



    This document has been placed in the public domain.