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ISPs Warned that IPv4 Addresses Will Run Out in Under 12 Months

Posted: 24th Jul, 2010 By: MarkJ
ipv6The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), which last year warned communication providers (e.g. UK broadband ISPs) around the world that Internet Protocol v4 (IPv4) addresses would run out in 2010, has said that the remaining stockpile of IPv4 numbers will be depleted in about one year's time.

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.

Sadly you can only have so many IPv4 addresses and thus IPv6 was designed, which is not only longer but also more secure by design. They are 128bits long, written in hexadecimal and separated by colons; for example:
2ffe:1800:3525:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf
Presently IPv4, used since 1984, provides roughly 4.3 billion addresses, of which only around 230 million (6%) remain free and available for new connections (it would be easy to use that many by the end of 2011). Happily many internet content providers are making good progress but the real problem remains in deployment.

IPv4 shortage warnings are now common place, although more than a few ISPs in the UK have yet to take the problem seriously. The inability to handle native IPv6 addresses could result in IPv4 address sharing, slower performance and potentially even security problems. We can only imagine how much fun the Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA) would have in trying to identify unlawful copyright file sharers from shared IP data.
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