The last five URLs were handed out yesterday, February 3, 2011, only two decades since the internet began. “Who the hell knew how much address space we needed?” said Vint Cerf, about the IPv4 scheme he put in place when the Internet was in its infancy.
For my non-technical readers, IPv4 is the current addressing you use on the internet – for example, http://www.Google.com. That’s what you tell the computer. The computer translates that into a series of numbers, in this case: 22.214.171.124 so that it knows where to look up Google’s homepage.
And we are running out of the 4.3 billion possible addresses we have available to us.
Worries about “cyber chaos” and system failure abound. Are we looking at the same kind of fear as Y2K that amounted to nothing? Alternately, predictions of overloaded bandwidth and an inability to get internet service like before broadband also abound.
Doom-and-gloom warnings about the dangers of moving to IPv6 from IPv4 abound as well. IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and is described in Internet standard document RFC 2460, published in December 1998. Essentially we need to convert to a system than offers us 340 undecillion addresses. Before this writing, I didn’t know that was a real word. This is akin to the problem that faced the telephone company when we ran out of phone numbers.
In our example, http://www.Google.com heretofore known as 126.96.36.199 will become 2002:4A7D:4F93:: .