Practical Technology

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Don’t Panic! It’s only the Internet running out of Addresses


The various Internet management groups made it official this morning. We’re now out of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) Internet address blocks. The final five blocks of IPv4 addresses were given out to the five Regional Internet Registries (RIR), which, in turn, will distribute these IP addresses to ISPs. That puts about 80-million more IPv4 addresses in play, but once they’re gone, they gone: IPv4 game over.

There was nothing unexpected about the Internet running out of IPv4 addresses, except for quickly the last few address blocks have been used up. As Rod Beckstrom, Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)’s President and CEO said in the announcement “This is truly a major turning point in the on-going development of the Internet. Nobody was caught off guard by this, the Internet technical community has been planning for IPv4 depletion for quite some time. But it means the adoption of IPv6 is now of paramount importance, since it will allow the Internet to continue its amazing growth and foster the global innovation we’ve all come to expect.”

What does that mean for you? Well, in the short run, nothing if you’re an ordinary user. If you’re a CIO, network engineer or administrator, you’ve got to start getting to switch over to IPv6. IPv6, with its 128-bit addresses, won’t be running out of addresses any time this century.

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