London: The world could well run out
of Internet addresses next year, unless urgent action is taken
to switch to a new generation of net addresses, the European
Commission has warned.
According to the commission, businesses urgently
need to upgrade to Internet protocol version six or IPv6, a
new version of the Internet`s addressing protocol, which will
hugely increase the number of available addresses.
The IPv6 system has been ready for over a decade and
is providing 340 trillion, trillion, trillion web addresses.
But, not many companies are actually ready to migrate to the
In fact, a survey, conducted by the Commission,
found that few companies are prepared for the switch from the
current naming protocol, IPv4, to the new regime, IPv6, `The
Daily Telegraph` reported.
The IPv4 and IPv6 protocols refer to the way in
which web addresses are created and assigned. Each website has
a unique IP address, represented by a string of numbers, such
as 192.168.1.1, which are then given a user-friendly web
address to make them easier to remember.
The IPv4 protocol uses 32-bit addresses, which enables
the web to support around 4.3 billion unique addresses while
IPv6 uses 128-bit web addresses, creating billions of possible
new web addresses.
The EC survey found that of the 610 government,
educational and other industry organisations questioned across
Europe, the Middle East and Asia, just 17 per cent have
upgraded to IPv6.
The Commission has warned that the timely deployment
of the protocol is vital to the growth and stability of the
Detlef Eckert, Director in Commission`s information
society and media directorate-general, said: "In the last 10
years, the Internet has become hugely important worldwide from
a socio-economic perspective.
"Only by ensuring that all devices connected to the
internet are compatible with IPv6 can we stay connected and
safeguard sustainable growth of the Internet and the global
digital economy, now and in the years to come."