Too Many IPs on the Dance Floor

February 4, 2011

Rheanna Sand

Is there such a thing as virtual claustrophobia? Because as of today, the internet has run out of room. On February 3, 2011, the last of over 4 billion IP addresses were distributed to the five global Regional Internet Registries. Which means, that’s it. In terms of internet protocol v.4, which has only 2 to the power of 32 possible combinations, the web is claimed.



Am I the only one who feels very protective of their IP address all of a sudden? Back off, is MINE!

But wait, there’s no need to start hoarding… a new protocol is swooping in to save us! IPv.6 is fully developed and ready to use, and has 2 to the power of 128 combinations - a comically large number of addresses for the world to feast on. Now, I’m sure the authors of the 1981 DARPA report introducing IPv.4 thought 4 billion was comically large, too, but seriously! If we become so overrun by electronic devices that 340 trillion trillion trillion IP addresses aren’t enough, I’d say we have bigger things to worry about. Like escaping the matrix, defending Zion and throwing cave raves.

Just because there’s a new protocol on the horizon doesn’t mean it won’t be a bumpy ride. While most computers and mobile devices are currently IPv.6-compatible, some of the underlying network hardware is not. Every machine in the connection pathway must be converted. But, much like a real superhighway, it must be dismantled and reassembled in a way that minimally disrupts traffic. 

Well, then, it shouldn’t be so bad! Humans are perfectly well tempered when it comes to traffic disturbances, right? Right.

Now stop leering at my IP, creepster.



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