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Friday, February 04, 2011

Internet officially runs out of IP Addresses

The Number Resource Organization (NRO), an industry group made up of five regional Internet provider registries, announced on Feb 3 that the free pool of available IPv4 addresses is now fully depleted. It had handed out the last of the available addresses on the old system.

The future of the Internet is in IPv6. All Internet stakeholders must now take definitive action to deploy IPv6.

The old system, called IPv4, uses a system of numbers, typically separated by decimals, like IPv4 had about 4 billion addresses (32 bits), which ran out more rapidly after mobile devices with Internet connections became commonplace. Now all new Internet addresses will use IPv6, a system that has more numbers and characters, and is said to have enough spots for 340 trillion, trillion, trillion unique IP addresses (128 bits). The two systems aren't automatically compatible with each other, however, so service providers and network operators need to upgrade systems to ensure the transition is smooth, which is why there has been so much recent attention focused on the subject.

Visit here for more information on IPv6.

Some facts on IPv6
  • Since IPv6 addresses are 128 bits long, the theoretical address space if all addresses were used is 2128 addresses. This number, when expanded out, is 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456, which is normally expressed in scientific notation as about 3.4*1038 addresses. That's about 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses.

  • It's enough addresses for many trillions of addresses to be assigned to every human being on the planet.

  • The earth is about 4.5 billion years old. If we had been assigning IPv6 addresses at a rate of 1 billion per second since the earth was formed, we would have by now used up less than one trillionth of the address space.

  • The earth's surface area is about 510 trillion square meters. If a typical computer has a footprint of about a tenth of a square meter, we would have to stack computers 10 billion high blanketing the entire surface of the earth to use up that same trillionth of the address space.

Looks like this figure is almost infinite.

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