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IP addresses may run out in 2012

June 9, 2011 • Mobile and Telecoms

Edwin Thompson, GM - Infrastructure and Technology, MTN Business (Image: File photo)

Despite many warnings, the online world will run out of IP addresses in 2012, many people do not fully understand the implications and as such are not taking this decade old threat of “we are running out of IP addresses” seriously.

In relation to this, MTN Business welcomes and celebrates the creation of IPv6 Day – on the 8th June – and hopes this goes some way to highlighting the significance of this threat.

“The market has been relatively slow to act to the necessary requirements for IPv6, but the stark reality is that IP addresses are diminishing rapidly and with the imminent lack of IP resources coming to the fore, the urgency to place IPv6 on the business agenda has been accelerated as the business case and the understanding of the implications are beginning to be fully realized,” Edwin Thompson, GM for Infrastructure and Technology at MTN Business.

Demand for Internet connectivity is on-going, with mobile phones most likely being the next big consumers of IP address space.

Who knows what else we’ll start connecting to the Internet in 5-10 years time – TVs, cars, home automation? However, in the current state of affairs (IPv4), it is clear that the Internet cannot accommodate such growth.

The problem is that IPv4 uses 32-bit addressing and can only support 4.3 billion devices directly connected to the Internet at the same time – seemingly plenty, but in fact, it’s not.

Gartner indicates that there were over 1 billion personal computers in use in 2008, with the number expected to reach 2 billion in 2014. Additionally, consider the 5 billion mobile phones in the world and consider how many people access the Internet via their phones every day, especially in emerging markets like Africa where fixed-line access is scarce. Then add in the iPads, Kindles and other devices we take for granted that access the Web – the just over 4 billion IP addresses do not seem so much anymore.

If we consider that at the end of 2010 only 5% of the IP v4 address space remained free (as opposed to 10% just 10 months ago), it is evident that at the current rate of consumption we will run out of IP addresses – it’s just a matter of time.

“MTN Business understands this and in line with our approach to be catalysts for change, we not only support this day, but the concept and transparency required to move our customers toward IPv6, the obvious evolutionary step for the Internet. We therefore commend the Internet Society for creating IPv6 Day to motivate organisations across the industry to prepare their services for IPv6.

MTN Business is striving for full IPv6 capability within our server infrastructure and are aligning our network accordingly, and we encourage other service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies to do the same,” says Thompson.

By: Staff Writer

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