Within a year, the internet will run out of IP addresses according to the American Registry of Internet Numbers.
That means, there will be no new addresses available in the world for any new device wanting to connect to internet, which may include your computer, mobile phone, TV or even your fridge. No internet address, means no internet.
This problem has nothing to do with your website address. Your website address and email addresses are safe. It relates to the actual IP address which are numbers such as 126.96.36.199. This 32-bit addressing system, or IP version 4, identifies a network. This internet protocol was set up in 1980, when computers were as big as a room or two and it was unimaginable that there would be more than four billion network connections in the world.
With a year, we are set to reach nearly 4.3 billion IP addresses, thanks to advancements in technology and the increase in the number of gadgets that use the internet. This doesn’t include private networks such as internal office networks.
Can this problem be fixed? Yes, but there are two schools of thoughts on this. The first option is to employ a Band-Aid solution and use technology to reduce the current number of IP addresses. This is a short term strategy that will buy time.
Another option, which is well supported by Google and other major players in the IT market, is IP version 6 which is a 128 bit addressing system, which will provide a longer term solution (we hope). The new IP version 6 will be able to hold more IP addresses than the number of stars in the universe. Now, let’s just hope that it will be enough for our next generation.
So, as a small business, what do you need to do? Well, this issue first needs to be fixed by your ISPs (Internet Service Providers) – the telecommunication companies. They are the ones who assign public IP addresses.
Based on the road they take, we’ll probably have to upgrade our IT infrastructure or network equipments to adapt to the new protocols.
As to whether or not it will be the next Y2K style issue, where millions of dollars are spent to make equipment compliant? Well… we’ll just have to wait and see how this issue will unfold over the next year.