IANA: IPv4 addresses will dry up in a year

According to John Curran, president and CEO of the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN), the Internet will run out of IPv4 addresses to allocate in less than a year. The sentiment was echoed by Vint Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist. According to ReadWriteWeb, reasons for the ominous prediction include the proliferation and innovation of technologies like RFID and smart power grids, as well as the astronomical increase in mobile device data connections worldwide.

An IPv4 address is 32 binary digits long, which makes for 4,294,967,295 total addresses. According to ARIN, of these 4 billion or so addresses, only 234,369,845 addresses remain. While that may seem like a big number, it’s really only 6% of the total number of available addresses. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), in its report today, released some graphical data on the current allocation of Ipv4 addresses. In the graph below, an interesting unit is used. On the y-axis, the ‘Assigned IPv4 Count’ is counted by /8 IP blocks. In layman’s terms, an /8 block of IP addresses consists of approximately 11 million addresses (all the possible IP addresses in 00000001.xxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxx).

As you can see, more than 200 blocks of addresses have already been marked for allocation by the IANA, and the curve doesn’t look like it’s about to taper off. The solution: IPv6. Putting aside other various technical advantages it brings to the table, the IPv6 address space is 128-bits long. That’s a total of 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 total addresses. That’s more than 4 billion addresses for every living human being, and definitely more than enough for our current and future needs for years if not decades to come.

Obviously, just up and going to IPv6 is easier said than done. While there are many incremental implementation strategies making their rounds in the networking world, many companies simply don’t feel that the problem is dire enough to warrant a costly and time-consuming endeavor that may or may not be financially rewarding to the business at the moment. Some of the bigger telecommunications companies, like Verizon and Comcast, have already started trial IPv6 implementations, and Google has already affirmed that IPv6 needs to happen soon.

“At Google, we believe that IPv6 is essential to the continued health and openness of the Internet – and that by allowing all devices on a network to talk to each other directly, IPv6 will enable innovation and allow the Internet's continued growth.”

The IANA predicts that July 1, 2011 will be the day that they run out of unallocated addresses to give out. This is based on analysis of time-based data, and those interested in a lot of statistics and charts can head over to their report to find out how exactly they came up with that number and how confident they are about its accuracy.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Droid X users use 5x the data, Verizon still looking to kill unlimited data

Next Story

“Be What's Next”, Microsoft's new motto

59 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Lolz, I heard during one training course that IPv6 have enough addresses for every living *creature* on the planet. It definitely is enough for decades to come. But for those who doesn't know, they have created IPv6 NAT as well, you know, just in case.

TRC said,
This is also a repeat article from 2009, 2008, 2007....2001..etc

well, duh, it's because more and more people get scared every year and move off of IP4 and over to IP6, freeing up IP4 addresses

TRC said,
This is also a repeat article from 2009, 2008, 2007....2001..etc

While they people do seem to freak out about IPv4 every few months, this is the first time I've actually seen IANA give a date.

Actually it's going to look like this 1050:0:0:0:5:600:300c:326b (see they are omitting zeroes to make life easier ;-)

Breach said,
Actually it's going to look like this 1050:0:0:0:5:600:300c:326b (see they are omitting zeroes to make life easier ;-)

still a big mess..lol

Breach said,
Actually it's going to look like this 1050:0:0:0:5:600:300c:326b (see they are omitting zeroes to make life easier ;-)

It can be shortened even more
1050::5:600:300c:326b

[sarcasm]IPv6 is gonna be fun, especially if you need to remember an address for any reason.[/sarcasm]
Can't wait to see how they are going to implement this when the time comes. So much reprogramming is going to have to be done to the devices that will carry this address scheme. Even small home networks will be intresting to maintain.

11111111.11111111.11111111.11111112

Breach said,
How about the DoD release a couple of those class A's they have for their own personal use since the '70s?

How about Ford release some. I mean, why do they need such a huge chunk of the internet?

Map of the internet (accurate):
http://xkcd.com/195/

Lexcyn said,
Our network has IPv6 alongside IPv4 so we are safe.

No, it is not.
It is just a gimmick to have ipv6 altogether with ipv4 because most of the task are done evaluating ipv4 and simply ignoring ipv6.
The problem will start when the ISP will stop supplying ipv4 and giving ipv6-only address (or private ip such 192.168., 172.16. or 10.)

Magallanes said,

No, it is not.
It is just a gimmick to have ipv6 altogether with ipv4 because most of the task are done evaluating ipv4 and simply ignoring ipv6.
The problem will start when the ISP will stop supplying ipv4 and giving ipv6-only address (or private ip such 192.168., 172.16. or 10.)

IANA will never hand out the private ranges.

Comcast is already rolling IPv6 out to business customers and residential trials are starting soon..... so expect one of (if not the) biggest ISP's in the USA to switch over soon to IPv6

" That's more than 4 billion addresses for every living human being, and definitely more than enough for our current and future needs for years if not decades to come."
I think that at 4 billion a person we have more than a few decades of IPv6 addresses available. It would be hard to imagine ever exhausting the supply.

displaynamegoeshere said,
" That's more than 4 billion addresses for every living human being, and definitely more than enough for our current and future needs for years if not decades to come."
I think that at 4 billion a person we have more than a few decades of IPv6 addresses available. It would be hard to imagine ever exhausting the supply.

Funny thing is that's probably what they were saying 10 years ago about IPv4

Tzvi Friedman said,

Funny thing is that's probably what they were saying 10 years ago about IPv4

Four Billion addresses for each person, i really can`t see anyone taking up that amount, can you?

Unless their selfish that is

I swear I read "IPV4 will run out within a year" every year.
Though I do agree that the transition to IPV6 is progressing far too slowly.

Karen Cookson said,
So, when will neowin be available on IPv6?

Thats not a question to worry. Neowin will be available on IPv6, when there hosting company provides v6 IP address for there server. I am prtty sure that DNS system already supports domain-to-IPv6 resolution.

codename.venice said,

Thats not a question to worry. Neowin will be available on IPv6, when there hosting company provides v6 IP address for there server. I am prtty sure that DNS system already supports domain-to-IPv6 resolution.

That wasn't my meaning. One of the reasons IPv6 is slow to take off is because websites are slow to use it. If more companies asked their providers to supply them IPv6 addresses then things would move quicker. Companies pay for an IP service and the ISP or hosting company only supply what the ISP wants to supply.

IphoneMini said,
So does IPv6 bring any improvement or any benefits? As far i known it will be like somewhat 128bit stuff.

the network stack behind it has secuirty enhancements to prevent packet spoofing and such... it has mandatory network security (IPsec) also has very large payload capacity per frame.... kinda like Jumboframes just much larger

neufuse said,

the network stack behind it has secuirty enhancements to prevent packet spoofing and such... it has mandatory network security (IPsec) also has very large payload capacity per frame.... kinda like Jumboframes just much larger


Don't forget more efficient routing.

there's an old chinese proverb that says that humans "will only start looking for the toilet when the crap is about to come out of the anus"

Not sure what the big deal is. If we really started running out of addresses on the main Internet, wouldn't we just have to use more NAT?

Stetson said,
Not sure what the big deal is. If we really started running out of addresses on the main Internet, wouldn't we just have to use more NAT?

It's not that simple.
We could implement more NAT, but that means you won't be able to set up any type of server at home. Even multiplayer games might stop working...
Simply because there are multiple users using the same ip address, isps will have to refuse opening ports (they can't offer all customers port tcp/80, so no one will have it offered).

bsquirle said,

It's not that simple.
We could implement more NAT, but that means you won't be able to set up any type of server at home. Even multiplayer games might stop working...
Simply because there are multiple users using the same ip address, isps will have to refuse opening ports (they can't offer all customers port tcp/80, so no one will have it offered).

That's true. I wonder if maybe that will be the choice, either stay on the ipv4 system and not get any incoming ports opened, or make sure everything you have is ipv6 compatible.

Stetson said,

That's true. I wonder if maybe that will be the choice, either stay on the ipv4 system and not get any incoming ports opened, or make sure everything you have is ipv6 compatible.


Thanks to dual stack we can have both.
I've got a nice proof of concept setup at work:
an IPv6 configuration, an IPv4 configuration for servers with a dedicated ip and finally an IPv4 NAT config which translates a specific internal range to a single external IPv4 address. All on one network using only one router.

tunafish said,
Roll on IPV6 It's already being used on most backbones etc and it's just ISPs that need to get a move on

Please let's remember that not all networking equipment is capable of working with IPv6...
And some of the equipment being able to work with it still has bugs.
(Now we're not only talking about the small manufacturers.)

Anaron said,
My ISP (Teksavvy) has already started IPv6 trials with a small group of customers.

I'm on it too. And that's a true IPv6 Network

Anaron said,
My ISP (Teksavvy) has already started IPv6 trials with a small group of customers.

Yep, that's what I've got It's open to pretty well anyone who asks now.

WV2MJR said,
I'm not exactly sure what IPv4 or IPv6 does? Should I be concerned about reading this?

IPv4 Addressing is the basis for the internet. If we run out, we cant get any new 'devices' connected. Businesses and so on wont be affected because they tend to have one Public address and plenty of private ones, but as the internet is growing quickly its an overall problem. IPv6 resolves this issue by adding virtually unlimited addresses to assign to people worldwide, as well as other benefits.

WV2MJR said,
I'm not exactly sure what IPv4 or IPv6 does? Should I be concerned about reading this?
Not really mate, it'll be all handle behind the scenes.

WV2MJR said,
I'm not exactly sure what IPv4 or IPv6 does? Should I be concerned about reading this?

IPv6 just means you have a longer IP address compared to IPv4, which in the end means that there are more addresses to hand out.

Neoauld said,

IPv4 Addressing is the basis for the internet. If we run out, we cant get any new 'devices' connected. Businesses and so on wont be affected because they tend to have one Public address and plenty of private ones, but as the internet is growing quickly its an overall problem. IPv6 resolves this issue by adding virtually unlimited addresses to assign to people worldwide, as well as other benefits.

Basically I don't have to do anything ... since my ISP is Verizon (I have FIOS), they will take care of everything, is that correct? This is more or less an article for ISP's, not users, is that correct?

WV2MJR said,

Basically I don't have to do anything ... since my ISP is Verizon (I have FIOS), they will take care of everything, is that correct? This is more or less an article for ISP's, not users, is that correct?

It is for everybody. Check if your router / modem supports IPv6, most new ones should. If it does, then you don't need to worry about anything. The ISP will take care of the job (assigning a new IP for your connection, nothing else).

If not, you will probably need to buy a new one (but I really doubt your router / modem will not support IPv6).

KavazovAngel said,

It is for everybody. Check if your router / modem supports IPv6, most new ones should. If it does, then you don't need to worry about anything. The ISP will take care of the job (assigning a new IP for your connection, nothing else).

If not, you will probably need to buy a new one (but I really doubt your router / modem will not support IPv6).


IPv6 will have to go a bit further then the router, it will have to be configured on the end-users computer.
(I already feel sorry for all those people still working and holding on to XP.)

KavazovAngel said,
(but I really doubt your router / modem will not support IPv6)

A lot of routers in use do not support IPv4. If you bought it in the last year or two you might be OK, but if it's older than that, it probably doesn't --- maybe your manufacturer will provide a firmware update, otherwise, you're gonna have to go buy a new one or start losing connectivity.

bsquirle said,

IPv6 will have to go a bit further then the router, it will have to be configured on the end-users computer.
(I already feel sorry for all those people still working and holding on to XP.)

Not really. Your modem gets an IPV6 address just like your modem now gets an IPv4. It connects to the router and the router takes over and assigns all of the computers in the house a 192. address. I don't see a big issue. The only issue I see is having to replace a custom modem that you bought to replace the one the ISP gave you.

bsquirle said,

IPv6 will have to go a bit further then the router, it will have to be configured on the end-users computer.
(I already feel sorry for all those people still working and holding on to XP.)

Yup, Anything a tad bit older than W7 won't run IPv6 on a stable playing field or not even be able to use IPv6 over IPv4 anyways. Get with the times people.. its going to happen and IS a must in this case..

warwagon said,

Not really. Your modem gets an IPV6 address just like your modem now gets an IPv4. It connects to the router and the router takes over and assigns all of the computers in the house a 192. address. I don't see a big issue. The only issue I see is having to replace a custom modem that you bought to replace the one the ISP gave you.

The router/modem isn't an issue since a firmware update can be done on them. Currently almost every Linksys made within the last 5 years supports IPv6. Heck even my router supports it. The big issue of this slow and steady evolution however is that the Windows computers on your company's network may today not only not fully support IPv6 but very likely support it to different degrees. This is because many large companies still maintain a hodgepodge of recent and legacy Windows versions ranging from Windows 98 to Windows XP on the client side and Windows NT to Windows Server 2003 on the server end.

Consumer side isn't really hard as your ISP sends you the IPv6 and almost 90% of consumers run the latest OEMs with Vista or W7 that supports IPv6 already.

I just don't understand why some companys would think like this

"many companies simply don't feel that the problem is dire enough to warrant a costly and time-consuming endeavor that may or may not be financially rewarding to the business at the moment." Its just mind boggling to me that they would say such things when one day "obviously in near" that everything will convert to IPv6. Just like the day we run out of oil and require a new form of kinetic energy.

Edited by Morphine-X, Jul 22 2010, 5:40pm :

WV2MJR said,

Basically I don't have to do anything ... since my ISP is Verizon (I have FIOS), they will take care of everything, is that correct? This is more or less an article for ISP's, not users, is that correct?


Just make sure that whatever device you are running supports IPv6, rest i think u shouldn't be concerned.

Morphine-X said,

Yup, Anything a tad bit older than W7 won't run IPv6 on a stable playing field or not even be able to use IPv6 over IPv4 anyways. Get with the times people.. its going to happen and IS a must in this case..

The router/modem isn't an issue since a firmware update can be done on them. Currently almost every Linksys made within the last 5 years supports IPv6. Heck even my router supports it. The big issue of this slow and steady evolution however is that the Windows computers on your company's network may today not only not fully support IPv6 but very likely support it to different degrees. This is because many large companies still maintain a hodgepodge of recent and legacy Windows versions ranging from Windows 98 to Windows XP on the client side and Windows NT to Windows Server 2003 on the server end.

Consumer side isn't really hard as your ISP sends you the IPv6 and almost 90% of consumers run the latest OEMs with Vista or W7 that supports IPv6 already.

I just don't understand why some companys would think like this

"many companies simply don't feel that the problem is dire enough to warrant a costly and time-consuming endeavor that may or may not be financially rewarding to the business at the moment." Its just mind boggling to me that they would say such things when one day "obviously in near" that everything will convert to IPv6. Just like the day we run out of oil and require a new form of kinetic energy.

Wouldn't a consumers window machine have to support IPv6 only if they were connected directly into the ISP's modem and getting an actual IPv6 Internet Ip, and how often does that happen. Can a router not get an ipv6 address from the ISP modem under the status tab of the router and still send all the computers on the network an 192.168.x.x address?

warwagon said,

Wouldn't a consumers window machine have to support IPv6 only if they were connected directly into the ISP's modem and getting an actual IPv6 Internet Ip, and how often does that happen. Can a router not get an ipv6 address from the ISP modem under the status tab of the router and still send all the computers on the network an 192.168.x.x address?
That would be okay for
LAN <-> LAN and Internet -> LAN
but for LAN -> Internet, I'll try to give you an example of where things might go wrong;
you type in a domain name, IPv4 has run out so the domain doesn't have an IPv4 address (but your ISP works with IPv6 too) so your ISP only sends the IPv6 data to you, now your OS (or whatever legacy app if an old app handles it directly) gets confused because IPv6 data is completely different to IPv4 so assumes there is an error going on somewhere and the connection fails.
Of course there will probably be some IPv6 ->IPv4 router/modems for the legacy OS which would work by spoofing an IPv4 address for that session, but this can run into lots of problems like "what if it happens to match an IPv4 address which does exist and you're also trying to connect to?" or "what happens if you have IP-based firewall rules?" or "what if it's using the IP to figure out which country the server is supposed to be in?" etc so it shouldn't be used as a long-term solution to the problem.