If you’ve been paying any attention to the news recently, you’ll have read that the web is about to implode and run out of internet addresses.
To calm your nerves, Google posted a blog over the weekend explaining the changes and how the next chapter in the history of the internet is almost upon us.
“In the same way your phone is associated with a unique number, your computer is assigned a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address when you connect to the internet,” explained Google. “The current protocol, IPv4, allows for approximately four billion unique addresses—and that number is about to run out.”
The last batch of remaining IPv4 addresses are currently being dished out to the world’s five Regional Internet Registries, the organisations that manage IP addresses in different regions. These Registries will begin assigning the final IPv4 addresses within their regions until they run out completely, “which could come as soon as early 2012”.
“As the last blocks of IPv4 addresses are assigned, adoption of a new protocol—IPv6—is essential to the continued growth of the open internet,” the post continued.
IPv6 will expand the internet address space to 128 bits, making room for approximately 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses “enough to last us for the foreseeable future”.
Google says it’s been working for years to implement the larger IPv6 format, which marks a major milestone in the history of the Internet. “IPv6, the next chapter, is now under way,” concluded the blog post by Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist.