No, I’m not talking about physical exhaustion….I’m talking about IPv4 address space! IPv4 (32-bit addressing) has been on the ‘endangered species’ list for a long time now. And almost everyone agrees we’ve got until about 2011 or maybe 2012 (depending on where you live) before there will be NO more free IPv4 addresses. IPv6 (128-bit addressing) has been developed but ISPs (like my local cable modem ISP) have been slow-to-non-existent to adopt it. Content providers too, even a few major network service providers (read “tier 1 ISP”)don’t yet offer IPv6. Don’t believe me? Take a look at what some other very smart people have done (with math!)
The Internet is still very much growing, and IP addresses are a part of that. Each IP address uniquely identifies an end point. We got around IPv4 exhaustion for a while by using NAT. But there are still hundreds of new websites and other types of services that require unique IP’s showing up every day.
It’ll be interesting when the runout actually occurs. Because it’s likely to affect smaller businesses, NSPs, ISPs, and web hosts first. Customers will be the last to be affected because they honestly don’t understand.
Another issue slowing deployment is a lack of CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) that support IPv6. CPE is your Linksys (now part of Cisco), NETGEAR, D-Link, Cisco, ZyXEL, or whatever “router” — it’s your link to your ISP, and to the Internet at large. And if your CPE doesn’t do IPv6, you can’t either. Atleast not without slow and unreliable hackery.
So lets hope ISPs get on the ball, and SOON. I am tempted to call mine this week just to see how much I can confuse their techs.