Posted 9 years ago by Adam Gautsch

The Internet could run out of web addresses by 2011


Jim F. ~ 9 years ago

If this were the case...

I wonder what the demand would be like for then-owned addresses (standard addresses, nothing fancy or terribly popular) once the internet "ran out."

dave ~ 9 years ago

Fear mongering. Tishuk you ought to be ashamed. Internet is forever.

dave ~ 9 years ago

Uh...I meant to say Bear. But in reality, this scares me because there's still no big push for the next standard of addressing protocols, and the way things are going now, pushing for it this late in the game can have some nasty results.

Evan Tishuk ~ 9 years ago

It will likely cause an inconvenience to the normal web professional (the people applying the technology in question). The people who support, maintain, and create the infrastructure are the ones who will see the most volatility. At some point the companies who have their shit together will put the ones who don't out of business. Natural selection is awesome.

Jimmy Simons ~ 9 years ago

So for a brief history. The 32-bit IP address was decided upon because it was easy to separate it up into four octets with each octet representing a decimal number from 0 to 255. That makes it easy for the human to understand while still giving us quite a lot of addresses.

Since the internet was born in the US, we have allocated to ourselves more IP addresses than other countries. We have been running out of IP addresses for a while, but since we control more of them, we won't have to upgrade for a while. We could make more efficient use of our current address space (as some companies own more than they need). But that would just be a stop gap.

This problem has been know for years. The solution is to move to the next IP protocol, called IPv6. Some countries, like Japan, have already made that transition as they have already run out of IP addresses. All networking professionals are aware of the problem and know what will need to be done as all the networking certification tests (like the CCIE) cover IPv6.

The only thing about IPv6 is that the addresses are now mostly incomprehensible to the human (they are 128 bit). That is 2^58 addresses for every star in the known universe. So it is a pain in the ass to write them out. The good thing is that the IPv6 addresses are so long, it will be a very, very long time before they run out. *never say never*

Another interesting thing about IPv6 is that there will be other ways of handling communication as opposed to the unicast and multicast that we are now used to. So we will have more options. My worry is that we have stupid people who write articles like this and make poorly designed web sites and protocols that don't utilize the benefits of our enhanced infrastructure.

BTW, the US gov't has already forced communication providers to be IPv6 compliant. So the change over will only be painful for the IT geeks. It won't stop the internet which can already run IPv6.

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