Europe is going to run out of web addresses in just six months time, the Vice President of Google, Vint Cerf, has warned.
This is a thorny issue we’ve written about before. Current IP addresses (IPv4) consist of four sets of numbers, and while there are 4.3 billion combinations of these, room is rapidly running out.
Originally, the Number Resource Organisation thought we’d issue the last tranche of addresses in 2012, and then that thinking was revised to September 2011. However, with the uptake of addresses increasing, it seems that “IP-Day” will now come in the spring of next year.
That’s worryingly close for comfort, given that the task of upgrading to IPv6, which is what needs to happen to open up more room, is a complex undertaking. IPv6 is a 128-bit system which offers a huge increase to a massive 340 undecillion plus addresses. That should last us for a while…
The Guardian quoted Cerf as stating: “If nobody does anything then the internet will simply stop expanding. You need to be able to talk to everyone in the world [who] is on the internet. If Europe doesn’t implement IPv6, it wont be able to talk to the rest of the world that does implement IPv6 – that’s stupid, and we don’t want people here to be stupid.”
Cerf was speaking before the launch of 6UK, a campaign to encourage the swift adoption of the new IP protocol.