It's a sign of the Web's exponential growth these last several years: the IPv4 protocol is now exhausted. Sean Michael Kerner reports on the transition to a new Internet era.
In a sense, this week marked the end of an era for the Internet.
The last five blocks of Internet addresses available under the IPv4 protocol were allocated in a ceremony on Thursday in Miami, a major milestone that will hasten the advent of a new chapter in the Internet's evolution.
"It marks far more than the transition from one Internet protocol to another. It marks the amazingly successful growth of the Internet with people all over the world coming online," said ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom. "A pool of more than 4 billion Internet addresses has just been emptied this morning; completely depleted, there are no more."
What comes next, however, is a lengthy transition marked by difficult technical work as Web companies begin to implement IPv6. And experts note that while Regional Internet Registries have exhausted their supply of IPv4 address blocks, they will still be able to allocate smaller clusters of addresses, likely for years to come.
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