February 3, 2011
Internet Officially Out Of IPv4 Addresses Today
The non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) ran out of its last five batches of "IP" numbers that identify destinations for digital traffic on Thursday.
"A pool of more than four billion Internet addresses has been emptied this morning," ICANN chief Rod Beckstrom said at a Miami press conference. "It is completely depleted. There are no more."
He said that regional centers around the world will be doling out the remaining addresses to support a shift to a bountiful new "IPv6" format.
"It is like running out of license plates," said Internet Architecture Board chairman Olaf Kolkman. "Driving on the road the next day would not change."
The touted solution to the problem is a switch to an "IPv6" format, which allows trillions of Internet addresses. The current IPv4 standard provides just four billion or so Internet addresses.
The effort and expense of changing to IPv6 would fall on Internet service providers, websites and network operators that have to make sure systems can handle new online addresses and properly route traffic.
Consumers should not notice the switch since complex IP numbers would still appear to them as words and domains.
Some people might need to update routers or modems that connect computers to the Internet.
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