IPv4 Internet Addresses Running Low In Europe
September 15, 2012

Europe Running Out Of Old-Style IP Addresses

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Nearly all of the old-style Internet addresses in Europe have been used up, leading the governing body to place strict rules rationing the number of applications firms can submit for the remaining few, according to various media reports published Friday.

According to BBC News Technology Correspondent Mark Ward, the currently utilized IP Version 4 (IPv4) addressing system was limited to just 4.3 billion internet protocol addresses when it was first rolled out in the 1970s. At the time, experts believed it would be more than enough, but "the rapid growth of the internet and popularity of the web have swiftly exhausted this pool," Ward said.

On September 14, RIPE Network Coordinating Center (Ripe NCC), the company which awards IPs to internet service providers, companies, and other groups, announced that they were down to their final 16 million IPv4 addresses.

Prior to reaching that limit, the group told the BBC that they had been distributing nearly four million of old-style addresses every 10 days. As a result of the shortage, however, they noted that they were going to limit firms to just one additional application for IPv4 addresses, with a maximum cap of 1,024 per successful effort.

"When the Internet was first designed it seemed highly unlikely that IP address space would ever be an issue," RIPE NCC Managing Director Axel Pawlik told Telegraph Technology Correspondent Christopher Williams on Friday. "However, the limitations of the pool of IPv4 address space became clear over time, and in the last few years we have been monitoring supplies closely, preparing ourselves and all stakeholders for the next stage of the internet."

Pawlik's group also plans to replace IPv4 with a new protocol, IP version 6 (IPv6), which Williams reports offers approximately 340 trillion, trillion, trillion unique addresses. Anyone wishing to acquire any of the few remaining IPv4 addresses must already have an allocation of IPv6 addresses and must also demonstrate to RIPE NCC precisely how they plan to implement them, Ward added.

"More than 50 percent of our members already have an IPv6 address space allocation, but there is still a long way to go before we can say that everyone is prepared," Pawlik told the Telegraph. "IPv6 vastly increases the amount of address space, helping to enable an exciting turning point in society as Internet connected devices become increasingly more sophisticated and commonplace. IPv6 sets a firm foundation for guaranteeing that the future Internet remains reachable for all."