We now take for granted many things that were once thought impossible to use and create. Take the Internet, for example. Getting a unique user IP address has been commonplace for its entire history, throughout the word, until now. IP4V Internet addresses are now out of stock, according to a new report by NBC News.
Homeless on the Internet?
Many Internet users do not even know what an IP address is and have been shielded from that technical information due to its complexity. It is similar in concept to your Bitcoin public key, or an email address. It allows Internet Providers to locate your computer and send you online data and signals for your area.
If you are reading this article, you are most likely using an IPv4 address for your connection along with the other 90% of the world. It will read something like 63.272.357.532. The problem is every address system has a limit, and IPv4 has reached its limit, with billions of people getting online service over the last 25 years.
The limit was reached last Wednesday when the American Registry for Internet Numbers had to turn down a request for a block of fresh IP addresses in the United States. So a new waiting list for IPv4 addresses has begun. Or a new user can purchase a used address on the open market. Lightly-used IP addresses can be culled by ISPs, but that would only buy a limited amount of time to address the issue.
“Even the architects of the Internet could not have predicted the amazing success and universal adoption of the Internet and World Wide Web," said John Curran, president of the American Registry for Internet Numbers.
Time to jump ship
Does this mean the Internet is over for people getting a new smartphone? Not exactly, because there is a newer address system called IPv6 available. The problem is it has not been a hit with Internet providers as far as implementing the new address program, most likely due to complacency more than anything else. Curran said:
"It is time for Internet service providers to move to IPv6 to enable the Internet's continued growth. Businesses should be aware that this transition is already well underway for many service providers in the region and make sure that their public-facing websites are reachable via IPv6.”
Adoption rates are highest in the United States, where just 21% of Internet users are on the new IPv6 program. Most of the world is well under 8% and are using it to access Google. But where adoption is picking up, users are experiencing significant reliability or latency issues connecting to IPv6-enabled websites. The advantage is with IPv6 there are over 340 trillion trillion trillion address combinations available (340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 to be exact.)
Do you expect major problems during this changeover to the new address system? Share and comment below.