Internet’s IPv4 address system reaches 4.2 billion address limit

Internet’s IPv4 address system reaches 4.2 billion address limit

The addressing system, Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), which allows connectivity of computers on the internet, has hit its limit after 30 years of rapid growth, forcing major changes to the technology that has driven the information revolution.

The addressing system allowed for more than 4.2 billion addresses, but RIPE NCC, the consortium of internet organisations that oversees the system in Europe, said it had used the last block of 16.8 million addresses.

"When the Internet was first designed it seemed highly unlikely that IP address space would ever be an issue," the Telegraph quoted Axel Pawlik, RIPE NCC's managing director, as saying.

IPv4 was designed to give every computer connected to the Internet, a unique numerical address, allowing information to find its way from one to another anywhere in the world.

It will now be superceded by IPv6, a new addressing standard that would offer around 340 trillion unique addresses, the paper said.

It will mean internet service providers (ISPs) and large businesses will need to invest in new equipment and software, but if all goes according to plan, then most ordinary users should not notice any difference, it added.

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