The Web’s Well Goes Dry: IP Addresses Run Out, But More on the Way

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The almost holy “Father of the Internet”, Vince Cerf, predicted it was going to happen and low, it did. On Thursday the internet finally ran out of sacred IPv4 addresses.

But there is no “Ipocalypse.” The transition from IPv4 addresses to the new IPv6 addresses, which are supported by almost all web-connected gadgetry, is underway, and most people wont even notice a difference. June 8 has been designated as the IPv6 “Test Flight Day.” Popular sites like Google, Facebook and Yahoo will change their content over to the IPv6 protocol to motivate ISPs, hardware makers, operating system vendors to handle the new addresses.

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Just to reiterate, the web has run out of IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, not domain names or .com and .orgs, from the batch that was allocated when the internet was first started up over thirty years ago as a network experiment by Cerf and his buddies at DARPA. It was an experiment no-one at the time expected would keep on going for so long.

The popularity of search engines like Google, social networks like Facebook and Twitter and the emergence of 24 hour news coverage have contributed to making the internet an integral part of daily life — the world is more ‘wired’ than it is ‘wide’ these days.

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The 4 billion limit of the IPv4 addresses will be expanded 340 undecillion (yes, NewsFeed had to look this one up but apparently that’s 340 trillion, trillion, trillion) IPv6 addresses. Just to put that in perspective for us, “If all the space of IPv4 were to be sized and compared to a golf ball, a similar-sized comparison for IPv6 would be the size of the sun,” said the CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, John Curan.

That should leave room for every new individual laptop, tablet, smart phone, and desktop for a long while to come. (Via Reuters)