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The iPocalypse and IPv4 addresses

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Saturday January 29, 2011 )

Some are calling it the ipocalypse – the point when IPv4 addresses run out – and it could happen as early as within the next couple of weeks. It may not be as dramatic as some have foreshadowed; but it’s something to look into in regard to your own online business.

The IP address system provides a unique identifier for web sites and each device connecting to the Internet. The version that the web has been built on to date is called IPv4. It allows for 4.3 billion possible addresses.

With the Internet growing beyond the expectations of what would be required of IPv4; it’s now crunch time. The explosion of mobile devices connecting to the web, always on Internet connections and general IP address waste issues means we’ll be out of IPv4 addresses within the next few weeks.

So, will the Internet blow up an the universe collapse in on itself?

No – an alternative system has been waiting in the wings for some time called IPv6, which allows for eleventy gazillion quadrillion IP addresses.. well, 3.4×1038 addresses actually.

However, the problem is most ISP’s and web hosts haven’t switched to the new system, or at least provided some sort of support for it. This means they won’t be able to grow their businesses unless they do, or may have to resort to IP address sharing; which has some problems of its own.

Other hiccups that may occur is device compatibility – so it’s something you may want to check out in relation to your own networking hardware and modems. You may also want to contact your web host to ensure no problems are on the horizon at their end of things.

To understand more about the situation, view this article on PCMag.


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