Jul 28, 2010

The Internet runs out of addresses in less than a year

Get your Internet address now. If the experts are right the world will run out of Internet addresses in less than a year according to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald. Like a street address for a house, a number is assigned for each computer, website, or other device connected directly to the Internet. Under the current technology used for assigning addresses, IPv4, there is a limit of about four billion addresses. Right now there is only 232 million left which are expected to be gone in 340 days.

There is a solution to the issue–implementation of a new standard for assigning addresses called IPv6 would create a larger pool of addresses. Unfortunately, IPv4 and IPv6 are not backward compatible which means some devices connected to the Internet need to be updated with the new technology
or replaced. Such upgrades or replacements cost money leading Internet service providers to delay implementation of the technology. By the time action is taken, it may be too late. That leads some to believe that when the addresses run out a black market for IP addresses will be established. It also means that ISPs will pressure customers to use as many devices as possible on a single IP address to create a pool to pull from as new needs come up.

There is some hope, though. The Mac and Windows operating systems already support IPv6. Also, Google and Facebook are in the process of adopting it. The problem is that ISPs need to take the lead to begin adoption of the technology before the problem becomes a crisis. Some say we are in crisis mode already.

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