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January 31, 2011

Last tranche of IP addresses about to go out

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by Darren Allan

It’s official – the global well of IP addresses is about to run dry.

According to a BBC report, the event which initiates the distribution of the final five blocks of available IPv4 addresses will happen in the next few days.

The Beeb notes that the so-called trigger event will be APNIC (which is in charge of net addresses for the Asia-Pacific region) falling below a certain threshold, and requesting new addresses.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority will then push out its final five blocks of 16 million addresses apiece to the five regional agencies which govern IP addresses across the globe.

This is expected to happen in March. Once these run out, however, we’re in something of a pickle; and the predicted date for that is September of this year, as estimates from the Number Resource Organisation a couple of months back indicated.

With no addresses left, the net will simply not have anywhere to expand. Current IP addresses (IPv4) consist of four sets of numbers, which there are 4.3 billion combinations of.

Plans to switch over to the next-gen system, IPv6, need to be marshalled hastily. IPv6 is a 128-bit system which offers a huge increase to a massive 340 undecillion plus addresses.

6UK is the campaign for the swift adoption of the new protocol in the UK. On the organisation’s website it notes: “Every organisation must consider the implications of the need to transition to IPv6 and decide what action it needs to take. Fortunately, having been defined towards the end of the 1990s, IPv6 is a well understood and low risk protocol.”

Axel Pawlik, MD of RIPE, which handles Europe’s net addresses, told the BBC that the IP well could run dry possibly even before September. While the number of requests for IPv6
is apparently going up, it’s not increasing fast enough for his liking.

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1 Comment »
  1. when will we use IPv6 conpletely?

    Comment by Sam — February 1, 2011 @ 7:01 am

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