The Internet is about to run out of new addresses, a milestone that is spurring Web giants like Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. to develop new versions of their sites and prompting carriers like AT&T Inc. and others to upgrade networks.
This week, the organization that oversees Internet addresses is expected to dole out its last batch of existing Internet protocol addresses, a step akin to telephone companies running out of numbers to give customers.
Internet protocol addresses are numerical labels that direct online traffic to the right location, similar to the way a letter makes its way through the postal system. Such routing is generally invisible to users—when they type in www.facebook.com, for instance, they are actually connected to a computer located at the numerical address 18.104.22.168. It is those numbers that are in dwindling supply.
More than a decade ago, the Internet’s founding fathers developed the much longer IPv6 addressing system that allows for a near-infinite number of websites and devices. Still, less than 0.25% of people currently access the Internet with IPv6 connections, Google says.
If the changeover to IPv6 goes well, the transition—likely to happen gradually over a number of years—won’t have a big impact on consumers. Some older operating systems and home routers won’t work with the new addresses, but ones bought in the last couple of years should, according to networking experts.
- IPv4 and IPv6 (sciencetext.com)
- Web Running Out of Addresses (online.wsj.com)
- Web Running Out of Addresses (voices.allthingsd.com)
- IP address supply runs out. (ramanan50.wordpress.com)
- IPv4 & IPv6: A Short Guide (mashable.com)
- Troubleshooting IPv6 on Windows 7 (and Why It’s Worth the Bother) (itexpertvoice.com)
- Cable Getting Ready for Transition to IPv6 (cabletechtalk.com)
- The internet is about to run out of addresses (venturebeat.com)
- Internet As We Know It Runs Out Of Room (webpronews.com)