If the universe is infinite, we can’t say the same thing about the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, which, soon, will reach the bottom of the bag. Currently, there are over 4.3 billion IP addresses and every day, people buy new computers and connect to the internet. This way, these devices are assigned with a different numerical label (32-bit number) which has two functions: location addressing and host/network interface identification. Soon, the available addresses will run out, but don’t worry, there’s another version of IP (IPv6) that uses 128 bits, which started getting popular in the mid 2000s.
If you have a smartphone and a SIM card, then you have a mobile number where people can call you or send you messages. Imagine that when you connect to the internet through your computer, you’re using an online “phone number”, as an identification. This is your Internet Protocol address, and, every day, new IPs are assigned to every computer from this world that has access to the internet.
What will happen when there will be no available IP addresses left? When the stock will be exhausted, you won’t be able to reach half the internet and to watch videos, because in short time, probably until the mid 2016, the available IP addresses will come to an end and a new system – IPv6, will replace the old IPv4, when it will reach exhaustion.
The history of IPv4 started back in 1981, when a bunch of volunteers created a system that helped people to have access to the pages they wanted. To handle all the online traffic, the volunteers made 4.3 billion IP addresses, which seemed a huge number, but no one was expecting to reach the limit almost 34 years later. Since the technology is evolving every day and new computers are released on the market, more people will have access to the internet. According to predictions, by 2020, around 50 billion devices will have access to the internet and since the IPv6 addresses are starting to become known, their stock will be more than enough for every computer from the planet. 340 trillion trillion trillion (340 followed by 36 zeros) IPv6 addresses will be assigned to generations and generations of computers, in the next hundreds or thousands of years.
There is also a bad news: not everyone is ready to make the transition to IPv6, but maybe that’s because not many have heard about this technology and that’s why they’re not rushing to contact their ISP to receive an IPv6 address.