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Vint Cerf Warning - The Internet is Still Running out of IPs

Posted: 25th Sep, 2008 By: MarkJ
The father of the Internet, Vinton Gray "Vint" Cerf, has warned that the World Wide Web (WWW) is running out of Internet Protocol (IPv4) addresses. For those not in the know, an IPv4 address is assigned to your computer each time you go online (e.g. 123.23.56.98). It is a unique online identifier made up of four number groupings and allows you to communicate with other computers around the world; not unlike a phone number for voice calls.

Unfortunately you can only have so many IPv4 address combinations before running out and the online population is fast outstripping the available pool, hence the need for a longer number (IPv6). Roughly 85% of all available IPv4 addresses are already in use, with some predictions suggesting that they could run out entirely by 2011:

"This is like the internet running out of telephone numbers and with no new numbers, you can’t have more subscribers. The technical stuff for IPv6 is done. IPv6 is ready. This is a business issue in the Internet service industry. The ISP community round the world needs to pay attention," said Vint Cerf.

Sadly these warnings are nothing new and we've covered them many times before over the past few months (related news). In all probability IPv4 addresses WILL run out before IPv6 can be fully deployed to replace it and the impact this will have is difficult to predict. Certainly one outcome will be lower availability of static IPv4 addresses, something many take for granted. Others predict potential performance and connectivity woes, depending on how ISPs adapt to the situation.
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