IP4v finally run empty

Posted: 13 February 2011 by reanxyz in Uncategorized
IP address warehouse runs empty
MIAMI (AFP) – The global warehouse for Internet addresses ran empty on Thursday.

The non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) doled out its last five batches of “IP” numbers that identify destinations for digital traffic.

“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 brushed aside fears of modern life being devastated by an “IPocalypse,” saying Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) worldwide will be doling out 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, while the current IPv4 standard provides a meager four billion or so.

The effort and expense of changing to IPv6 would fall mostly on Internet service providers, websites and network operators that have to make sure systems can handle the new online addresses and properly route traffic.

“If an ISP (internet service provider) gets its act together, it shouldn’t be a massive problem,” Trefor Davies, chief operating officer of British ISP Timico, told AFP.

“We really should see this as an historic event,” he continued. “The very nature of the Internet has changed with the transition.”

Beckstrom expected the full switch to IPv6 to take years with potential overall costs in the billions of dollars, some of which could be factored into routine replacement of equipment.

“We are talking about billions of dollars here globally, not trillions of dollars,” Beckstrom said.

Consumers, for the most part, should remain oblivious to the switch since complex IP numbers would still appear to them as words and domains, such as icann.org.

“My mother, my neighbour, my kids – they should never notice,” Kolkman said.

Some people might need to update routers or modems that connect computers to the Internet.

“All conditions are in place for a successful IPv6 transition,” Beckstrom said. “The future of the Internet and the innovation it fosters lies within IPv6.”

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