Friday, March 18, 2011

Running out of address space

You've probably heard talk about how we're about to run out of so-called IPv4 addresses -- the numeric designators (like 64.233.169.132) underlying URLs that actually tell packets of information where to go on the Internet. This problem of increasing scarcity could easily be resolved by switching to IPv6 addresses, which span an enormously larger range, and no doubt, that will eventually be what happens. But in the meantime, inertia means opportunity!

There's an interesting article on this wheeling and dealing from Maria Farrell over on Crooked Timber: "IPv4 endgame; following the money."

2 comments:

Don McArthur said...

I wouldn't say "easily". Most existing hardware flubs the management of the expanded address space. And thinking about a few billion network-aware devices coordinating the adoption of a new protocol sends shivers down my spine.

But, nature will out, and we will be forced into it by the numbers. But it ain't gonna be fun.

Brendan said...

I meant "easily" in the sense of "we know what we have to do; it's just a matter of doing it." But yes, point taken: the scale of the problem is a bit overwhelming to contemplate.

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