Sydney: The world is going to run out of Internet addresses in less than a year and inaction by internet providers could lead to broken applications and more expensive net connections, experts have warned.
The protocol that supports the Internet, known as IPv4, provides only about 4 billion IP addresses that is the unique sequence of numbers assigned to each computer, website or other internet-connected device.
Presently there are only 232 million IP addresses left in the world.
And this allocation is set to be exhausted in about 340 days.
“When the IPv4 protocol was developed 30 years ago, it seemed to be a reasonable attempt at providing enough addresses, bearing in mind that at that point personal computers didn’t really exist,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted John Lindsay, carrier relations manager at internet service provider (ISP) Internode, as saying.
Internet experts found out a solution to the problem several years ago, that was moving to a new protocol, IPv6. It provides trillions of addresses for every person on the planet.
But most of the Internet industry including ISPs and websites has been hesitant in investing for IPv6.
Geoff Huston, chief scientist at APNIC, which allocates IP addresses for the Asia-Pacific region, has been trying to make people aware of this problem since 10 years.
Huston said that the biggest hindrance in solving this problem was the sheer scale.
All devices on IPv4 will need to be upgraded to support IPv6, as the two versions aren’t backwards compatible. Consumers will have to upgrade the software on their computers and networking equipment and, in some cases, buy completely new hardware.
“Your ISP needs to do a lot of work, and if you’re not willing to pay more money to your ISP, your poor old ISP has got to spend extra money without extra income,” said Huston.
He also said that once the available internet addresses ran out, a kind of black market for IP addresses would be created where “those services that have the highest capacity to pay will still be able to get more addresses, but those who can’t get denied.”
“Over the years unless we embark on IPv6 then the internet will get slowly more and more strangled and applications will work in stranger ways,” he added.