Market Solutions to the IP Address Squeeze

Perhaps too late, it's widely recognized now that the IPv4 address pool will run out in the next few years. The current prediction, based on current data, is for the IANA to exhaust its pool on Jan. 25, 2011, and for the last block from the last RIR (Regional Internet Registry) to go on Dec. 26, 2011. Perhaps someone will buy it in a Boxing Day sale.

The answer to the problem has been around for ages: IPv6. It's supported by all major operating systems and network hardware vendors (at least for enterprise equipment), and many tests have shown it to be practical. Problem is, it's incompatible with IPv4, so all networking software needs to be updated to support it.

A number of proposals have been made for a transitional software setup to help people move from IPv4 to IPv6 (Comcast made one just the other day), but it's clear that these are moving users too slowly, if at all. We'll run out before a lot of people have moved to IPv6.

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