The Internet is Out of IP Addresses. Now What?

Ted Stevens' Series of Tubes

Despite what late Senator Ted Stevens once famously proclaimed, the Internet is not a series of tubes. What is really is is a globally interconnected computers all speaking the same language protocol.

Every gadget that connects to the WWWs has what is called an Internet Protocol Address — IP Address for short — which is a numerical ID of sorts. The most commonly used variety of IP Addresses, IPv4, are, in fact, completely used up for North America as of September.

So, the Internet has essentially run out of IP Addresses. Now what?

As this infographic over at GhostProxies (reproduced below) shows, all is not lost. While new IPv4 addresses are no longer available, the next standard of IP — IPv6 — was actually created back in the 1990s. IPv4 only allows for roughly 4 billion devices (far less than the number of people in the world, but more than those currently accessing the Internet), IPv6 gives us the potential for 340 undecillion (1036 ) unique addresses.

One of the issues with handing out IPv6 addresses at present is that devices connected via this updated protocol cannot view websites running on IPv4 exclusive servers (such as this one) without some sort of compatibility layer as a buffer. Fortunately, many major Internet service providers (including Comcast) are either already compatible with IPv6, or are hard-at-work upgrading their technology.

Check out GhostProxies’ detailed infographic below highlighting just what we’re going to do now that the Internet is out of IP Addresses.

The Internet Ran Out of IP Addresses

Created by Ghostproxies.com

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