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It’s official: We’re (completely) out of IPV4 Addresses in North America

router ip address
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Although most of us know the Internet by the domain names we type in our browsers, the Internet is also powered by a plethora of IP addresses, which is what our browsers actually resolve from the domain names we enter, and these IP addresses are essential for any web server to operate. However, with the growth of the Internet, we’ve now completely run out of IPV4 addresses in North America, further necessitating the need for continued IPV6 adoption to prevent Internet hiccups.

What do you mean ‘out of addresses?’

IP Addresses worldwide are controlled by a number of different Internet number registries,which split up IP Address control depending on where in the world you live. In North America, the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN) has been in control of doling out IP Addresses amongst the millions of people who live here. The only problem is that there are only 4.3 billion IP addresses available, and there are nearly 5 billion Internet-connected devices in the world, with many more on the way.

In July, we reported that the ARIN had run out of IPV4 Addresses in North America, and was beginning to use a wait list to re-issue addresses for ISPs and other authorities, who receive them in blocks that we then use as customers. That wait list is continuing to grow, and the ARIN has officially said it’s out of IP Addresses to issue from that wait list. Now more than ever, companies will need to promote IPV6 adoption, where more than 99 percent of all addresses are still available, to help curb the need for dwindling IPV4 Addresses

In Europe and Asia, IPV4 Addresses are just as hard to come by, as issuing authorities in those regions ran out of available IPV4 addresses years ago. IPV6 officially launched back in 2012, but the number of servers that support IPV6 connectivity is still only a fraction of all servers in the world.

While this crisis is something that may not immediately impact your connectivity, ISPs and companies will need to push harder on the shift to IPV6 adoption in order to prevent long-term downtime and Internet connectivity issues for emerging markets in need of new IP Address blocks.

If the current scarcity of IPV4 addresses continue, it could come to haunt us as some authorities are proposing marketplaces for buying and selling IP Address blocks, which in turn could mean more fees for everyday Internet access for home and business users. There’s no telling how the market will react if IPV6 adoption doesn’t grow and IPV4 exhaustion begins to impact our everyday lives.

Joshua Sherman
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joshua Sherman is a contributor for Digital Trends who writes about all things mobile from Apple to Zynga. Josh pulls his…
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