Several days ago, the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) sent a letter out to many web hosts and Internet service providers warning about the depletion of IPv4 addresses. It states that if these organizations don’t reduce their usage, IPV4 addresses will run out in two years. Previous reports had estimated the supply wouldn’t be depleted until 2023.
The IP protocol forms the backbone of the web, providing data centers with the IP addresses needed to route web traffic. Several versions of the system exist. The most commonly used, IPv4, has been in service since the 1980s. Due to the explosion of Internet and mobile devices over the last twenty years, IPv4 addresses are being gobbled up at a rate much faster than web architects ever expected.
To keep addresses available, ARIN will introduce a new policy on May 18 requiring additional authorization before any new addresses are handed out. A new revision of the IP protocol, IPv6, has widely available for a long time. ARIN is encouraging organizations to move to the new system, which is backward compatible with IPv4. Many web hosts have made the switch. Whereas IPv4 has room for only 4.3 billion addresses, the new system can handle 3.4×1038