What will the upcoming shortage of IP addresses mean for the Internet as we know it?

Everyone who connects to the Internet – from world-famous search engines like Google right down to an individual with a router in their own home or office – uses an IP address.

ipv4 addresses running out soon

This is a string of numbers which is used to tell the world where you are in cyberspace, so that the right Internet traffic is diverted to the right place. The trouble is, the IP addresses available under the current system (known as IPv4) will run out sometime in the next few weeks.

Does this mean we should panic? Or that the Internet as we know it will cease to exist? Some folks seem to be worried – there’s even a Twitter feed @Ipv4Countdown which gives regular updates such as this one: ‘The number of allocatable IPv4s just dropped below two million’. However, Chris Head from PCWorld points out that there is no cause for concern. A new system – IPv6 – has already been developed, which allows for a much greater number of IP addresses. IPv6 is already being quietly rolled out, and ordinary Internet users are unlikely to notice the difference.


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