'Internet could run out of web addresses next year'

'Internet could run out of web addresses next year'

According to the commission, businesses urgently need to upgrade to Internet protocol version six or IPv6, a new version of the Internet’s addressing protocol, which will hugely increase the number of available addresses.

The IPv6 system has been ready for over a decade and is providing 340 trillion, trillion, trillion web addresses. But, not many companies are actually ready to migrate to the new platform. In fact, a survey, conducted by the Commission, found that few companies are prepared for the switch from the current naming protocol, IPv4, to the new regime, IPv6, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ reported.

The IPv4 and IPv6 protocols refer to the way in which web addresses are created and assigned.  Each website has a unique IP address, represented by a string of numbers, such as, which are then given a user-friendly web address to make them easier to remember.

The IPv4 protocol uses 32-bit addresses, which enables the web to support around 4.3 billion unique addresses, while IPv6 uses 128-bit web addresses, creating billions of possible new web addresses.

The European Commission survey found that of the 610 government, educational and other industry organisations questioned across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, just 17 per cent have upgraded to the IPv6.


The Commission has warned that the timely deployment of the protocol is vital to the growth and stability of the  Internet.

Detlef Eckert, Director in the Commission’s information society and media directorate-general, said: “In the last 10 years, the Internet has become hugely important worldwide from a socio-economic perspective.

“Only by ensuring that all devices connected to the internet are compatible with IPv6 can we stay connected and safeguard sustainable growth of the Internet and the global digital economy, now and in the years to come.”

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