John Curran, President and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) announced today that the Internet will run out of addresses in approximately one year’s time.
How is this possible you might say? Because of exponential growth in user-generated Web content along with an explosion of sensor data, smart grids, RFID and more.
Oh, you meant how is there a limit on the limitless Internet? Well, currently, the Web largely uses Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). Each IPv4 address is limited to a 32-bit number, which means that there is a total maximum of just over 4 billion unique addresses out there. And we’re down to our last 6% of them.
Introducing IPv6, the next-generation Internet Protocol, which uses a 128-bit address. This protocol offers enough addresses to give every person on the planet more than 4 billion of their own.
So, why the Y2K comparison? Because we need large-scale companies to ensure this transition takes place without turning the lights out on the Internet. But the good news is that Google, Facebook and other big companies have already started making the switch. So before we start running out to the store and buying backup servers and bottled water, let’s give human ingenuity some credit this time around.