Sunday, October 26, 2003

BBC NEWS | Technology | IP addresses are set to run out in 2005

Tackling the net's numbers shortage
In the early days of the internet, it seemed improbable that all of the four billion available IP addresses would be used, but that is exactly what is happening.

Every mobile phone, PC and server has an address which, like a phone number, needs to be dialled when it is accessed over the web.

But as more people log on around the globe, the available number of IP addresses is dwindling.

A taskforce of experts hope to solve the problem by creating what is called IPv6 and would provide 64 billion extra IP addresses.

I suspect the journalist did the math correctly, but an editor made the mistake. The number is 64 billion billion billion. More significantly, IPv6 was created years ago and has been implemented in several test cases. I think both OS X 10.3 and XP SP1 include IPv6 support.

This is the personal ID number of science fiction fame. At birth one will be assigned an IP address -- certainly appearing on one's hospital id bracelet. That number replaces SSN, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. Names are merely a changeable label, the number persists. Never reused, it most likely goes to the grave with the person. Post-mortal derivative avatars may apply to inherit the number, but they'll probably have to make do with their own. Pre-mortal avatars will certainly have to get their own numbers.

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