The Internet is full - one in, one out.
The Internet is full.
OK, that’s a slight exaggeration for effect, but we really mean it this time. As of 1 Feb 2011, the internet is in address exhaustion mode.
The basic design of the Internet is that everything on it has an address. There are 4.3 billion possible addresses. There is a central authority for the world that hands out addresses (it’s called IANA). They’ve been handing them out since 1979. The linked announcement is that the last two non-reserve /8 blocks have been given to APNIC (the regional authority for the Asia-Pacific region). APNIC will chop these up into smaller pieces and grant those to ISPs and large corporations in their region over the next few months.
There are five reserve blocks - 83,886,080 addresses. IANA will hand them out on 3 February - they’ve just announced a press conference in Miami at 9:30 on 3 Feb. One will go to each of the regional authorities (APNIC, RIPE for Europe, ARIN for North America, LACNIC for Latin America and AfriNIC for Africa) and then there won’t be any left. At all. Ever.
It will take about nine months for APNIC to use up its supply; the others have slower run-rates (Europe and North America because the ISPs there have larger reserves, Africa and Latin America because the internets is smaller there).
Once we run out of numbers, we have to get more. In many ways this is like when various regions run out of phone numbers and add an extra digit. It’s just that the internet decided not to add just one digit. We decided to add 29. Internet addresses go from being 10 digit number to being 39 digit numbers. [from 32-bit to 128-bit]. This is a lot of work; we’re all supposed to have done it already, but humans are lazy without a deadline. Well, we’ve got a deadline now, so it’s time to get moving. Ask your ISP about IPv6 addressing. I’ve got some - have you?