Friday, September 26, 2008

London Times reports that we will soon run out of Internet IP addresses; Asian countries are ahead on this


Vint Cert, the supposed “father of the Internet” has recently told the London Times that the Internet is running out of new IP (internet protocol) addresses. The story is called “Father of the Internet: ‘web is running out of addresses’:, by Mike Harvey, Technology Correspondent, link here.

Mr. Cerf had founded the 4Pv2 system in 1977, with 4.2 billion potential addresses. With the rise of wireless and mobile phones, less than 1 billion addresses remain.

This could be a big problem overseas, making Internet access available to more people in developing countries, to comport with initiatives like “a laptop for every child”.

The new standard IPv6 would provide 3.4 x 10**14 addresses (OK, they teach scientific notation in Algebra I now).

Asian countries, including China, may be ahead of the US and the west and getting ISP’s to convert. The systems development work for the conversion is done but would require considerable work in phased implementations by ISPs. In the UK, the British government is starting to push the issue. We haven’t read about a similar effort in the US.

One downside risk is that people with IP connections based on the old scheme will not be able to reach Internet addresses, particularly overseas, with the new system.

Governments and security forces will need the connectivity quickly for intelligence work regarding hostile communications made overseas with the new systems.

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