Every few years there’s another panic about everyone running out of IP addresses. The terror that the Internet would simply run out of room is finally coming true. It’s not so much that computers are consuming the IP addresses; it’s all those smartphones, iPads, and other devices that require Internet access.
The Number Resource Organization (NRO), the organization that oversees the allocation of all Internet number resources, announced in January 2010 that less than 10% of available IPv4 addresses remain unallocated.
“It is vital that the Internet community take considered and determined action to ensure the global adoption of IPv6,” Axel Pawlik, chairman of the NRO, said in a statement. “The limited IPv4 addresses will not allow us enough resources to achieve the ambitions we all hold for global Internet access.”
IP addresses are allocated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which in turn is run by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). IANA distributes IP addresses to regional Internet registry (RIRs) who issue these addresses to ISPs and from the ISPs to you. “This is the time for the Internet community to act,” said Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s president and CEO. “For the global Internet to grow and prosper without limitation, we need to encourage the rapid widespread adoption of the IPv6 protocol.”
When the Internet began (then called APRPANet), IPv4’s possible 32-bit 4.3 billion addresses looked like it would be more than enough. That was then. This is now.