The Day the Internet Ran Out of IP Addresses
It was announced today that ICANN (the group in charge of dispensing IP addresses) has just given out the last set of IP addresses. Now there’s nothing to panic about. A little background might be in order here. Currently IP addresses are given to every computer connecting to the internet. These typically take the form of four octets. They are technically called the IPv4 addresses (the 4 representing the four octets). There exists a central ring of servers called Domain Name Servers that take a name (such as rockyourtechnology.com) and match that name with the corresponding IP address (in this case 22.214.171.124). This makes it easy on us humans, because I’m betting you can remember rockyourtechnology.com much easier than that string of numbers. Because IPv4 take the form of four octets they can be rearranged to form up to 4.3 billion addresses (or 2^32). And today it has been announced that there are no more of those numbers available. That doesn’t mean they are all in use, but it does mean that major organizations and ISP providers can no longer request blocks of those numbers to use. The supply is gone.
Enter the future. IPv6. No longer will we use a set of four octets but we are now beginning the transition to a new form. IPv6 addresses are written in groups of four hexadecimal digits separated by colons, for example, 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334. (Want to try and memorize that?) So, what does this all mean? Well, as this new protocol begins to take shape and become more prominent and IPv4 becomes more scarce there will be attempts to take advantage of this scarcity. Who wouldn’t like to have that nice set of numbers instead of an unmanageable string of random letters and numbers? It remains to be seen what will happen exactly and how things will unfold - but rest assured that we are on top of it. We know the technology. We understand the issues, and we can answer your questions.