Asia running out of IP-address room

China, Korea and Japan are running out of time. Governments and academics from the three countries are teaming up, putting aside troubled histories to avert a common disaster.

The issue: Asia's well of available IP (Internet Protocol) addresses is running dry rapidly. Without an IP address--a 32-bit string of numbers--a 3G phone, PC or handheld has no identity and cannot send or receive data. When that final address is used up in a couple of years, the online world will grind to a halt. And perhaps, so will the economies of the three North Asian nations.

Asia's plight is especially dire because the region was assigned fewer addresses under the current IPv4 (version 4) scheme, drawn up over 20 years ago. Renee Gamble, a program manager with market research firm IDC and specializing in IP and broadband issues, cited a few stark numbers. With IPv4, China has only 22 million IP addresses for its population of 1.3 billion people. Last year, it had about 17 million Internet subscribers, and the figure will hit 62.5 million in 2007. Japan and Korea will also run out of addresses soon, she said.

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News source: ZDNet

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