IPocalypse Now, When The Internet Runs Out of IP Addresses

This is not a conspiracy theory. According to the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) and Vint Cerf, Google's Chief Internet Evangelist, the Internet is coming to the end of the road when it will officially run out of IP addresses. At least the Internet as we know it today.

Billed as an online Armageddon, there is actually a Twitter account that goes by handle @IPv4Countdown that is counting down the days when all the existing IP real estate will be taken. As of today, there is slightly more than one year left, when the remaining 234+ million IPs will be gone.

"IPv4" signifies Internet Protocol version 4 and is limited to a 32-bit number, which (if you do the math) means there are a maximum of just over 4 billion unique addresses available. According to John Curran, CEO of ARIN, this leaves all but 6 percent left.

This is largely due to our transition from Web 2.0 to 3.0, where the new Semantic Web is acquiring millions of addresses for the Internet of Things, sensor data, RFIDs and smart grids.

While the end is near - the future is not as dim as it might sound. IPv6 is the next iteration of IP addresses and uses a 128-bit address, so it will support a vastly greater number of unique addresses - enough according to a ReadWriteWeb report to provide everyone on the planet with over 4 billion addresses each.

Curran noted that large telecom carriers like Verizon and Comcast, plus a good number of the newer Internet of Things initiatives will be directed to IPv6 versus IPv4.

In June, Google held a Google IPv6 Implementors Conference. At that event, Facebook announced that it had begun to use IPv6. In his opening remarks to the conference, Google's Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf urges ISPs to move to IPv6, so that a "black market" for Internet addresses won't occur.

Internet of ThingsInternet of ThingsWhile some view this issue as fear-mongering comparable to the Y2K overinflated crisis at the turn of the century, this is not a case of Chicken Little warning us of impending doom. As noted in the ReadWriteWeb report, "the bottom line is that IPv6 is a much larger platform for the coming Internet of Things… so one way or another, the move will have to be made."

For other posts related to the Internet of Things and the Semantic Web, check out the following:

Jan 24, 2011
by Anonymous

Chicken Little...

Or Henny Penny?