Skip to main content
As “the father of the Internet”, Vint Cerf is a man who needs to be listened to, especially when he is talking about the Internet itself. So when he warns that the Internet is almost full, meaning the available IP addresses are rapidly running out, I think we all need to start taking action.

Cerf, now aged 65 and an Internet evangelist, was one of the men who worked on ARPAnet, the predecessor to the Internet, and so is rightly regarded as one of the founding fathers of the Internet. According to The Guardian, he has recently warned that the Internet is rapidly running out of IP addresses, with late 2009, early 2010 a possible time-scale for when all the IP addresses in the world will have been used.

The problem has been exacerbated by the fact that it’s not only computers that are now able to connect to the Internet, with mobile phones, PDAs, game consoles, televisions, and even fridges all being sold with some kind of Internet access built in. This means that the Internet Protocol version four (IPv4) addresses, of which there were 4.2 billion when it was developed in the late seventies, are running out at a rate of knots.

With every Internet-enabled device assigned a unique IP address, the stocks are running extremely low, with around 14% of IPv4 addresses left. Cerf explained the situation in a way we can all understand to Times Online:

This is like the internet running out of telephone numbers and with no new numbers, you can’t have more subscribers.

But, before you all panic that the world is going to end in 2010, or at least any new iPhone or laptop will be effectively banned from the Internet, there is already a solution in place. It’s actually been in place for over ten years, which is the time this problem was first noticed, but it’s still not been fully implemented.

In 1996, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) adopted Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). This new protocol provides space for 2^128 addresses (340 trillion trillion trillion) or 4 billion IPs for every living person on the planet. So it will outlive any of us.

Most of us will already own a computer which supports IPv6, with IBM’s Unix offering support from 1997 and almost everyone else following suit shortly afterwards. Widows XP SP1 had it included, and it’s the standard protocol version in Windows Vista. So why is no-one yet using it?

It seems no-one is really that bothered until they are forced to, and according to Cerf, that is likely to be within the next year or two. Until then, all us humble consumers can do is make sure we buy devices and sign up to Internet Service Providers who support IPv6 and are prepared for the changeover. Oh, and remember to cross your fingers.

Popular posts from this blog

LibrePlanet 2017: Liberating your open source experience

LibrePlanet is a yearly gathering of free software activists, users, and contributors—and, it's my favorite conference of the year. Here's why.
LibrePlanet is run by the Free Software Foundation, and has steadily evolved from a yearly members' meeting with presentations from staff and board members to a full blown two-day conference with speakers and attendees from all over the world. The event brings people who care about free software together to talk about the future of the movement, address current challenges, and celebrate successes.
PreludeI was invited to give a talk at LibrePlanet 2017 on 25th March at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts representing Mozilla as a Tech Speaker. I reached Boston on 25th early morning. Around 1 AM. The journey itself was awesome till I realized that you don't get Uber or Lyft at Boston Airport.

Not that the apps don't function there. They work! Just no driver will be ready to pick you up from Airport at that time. After trying to b…

Bringing the Focus back : Firefox Focus (Builds) for Android

Firefox Focus – A Free, Fast Private Browser for....android! On 17th November 2016 Mozilla announced Firefox Focus. A free fast and easy to use private browser for iOS. Firefox Focus was filled with goodies. From inbuilt tracker blocking, content blockers to making privacy the first class citizen. It was all of that. Wrapped in a nice package, but only for Apple Ecosystem. The argument for having focus was to make privacy dead simple and default experience for most people out there. An excellent read is this article "Privacy made simple with Firefox Focus".
And while this was all fine, a lot of us were severely disappointed that we don't have an android version. That all changes now.
Mozilla has released a port of the Firefox Focus source code and I decided to build a port from it. And this is how it looks in my One Plus One.
If you notice it looks almost similar to its iOS counterpart. Focus blocks tracking cookies by default in its system. But there are small design c…

LinuxCon China 2017: Trip Report

Linux Foundation held a combination of three events in China as part of their foray into Asia early this year. It was a big move for them since this was supposed to be the first time Linux Foundation would hold an event in Asia. I was invited to present a talk on Hardening IoT endpoints. The event was held in Beijing, and since I have never been to Beijing before I was pretty excited for the talk. However, it turned out the journey is pretty long and expensive. Much more than a student like me can hope to bear. Normally I represent Mozilla in such situations, but the topic of the talk was too much into security and not aligned much with the goals of Mozilla at that moment. Fortunately, Linux Foundation gave me a Scholarship to come and speak at LinuxCon China which enabled me to attend LinuxCon and the awesome team at Mozilla TechSpeakers including Michael Ellis and Havi helped me get ready for the talk.

The event was held at China National Convention Center. It's a beautiful and …