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What is the new standard for web addresses?

SAN FRANCISCO – THIRTY years after the first Internet addresses were created, the supply of addresses officially ran dry on Thursday.

But don’t panic. The transition to a new version of addresses is already well under way and, for most people, should occur without even being noticed.

new standard for web addresses

At a special ceremony in Miami on Thursday, the organisation that oversees the global allocation of Internet addresses distributed the last batch of so-called IPv4 addresses, underscoring the extent to which the Web has become an integral and pervasive part of modern life.

Every computer, smartphone and back-end Web server requires an IP address – a unique string of numbers identifying a particular device – in order to be connected to the Internet. The explosion of Web-connected gadgets, and the popularity of websites from Google to Facebook, means that the world has now bumped up against the limit of roughly 4 billion IP addresses that are possible with the IPv4 standard introduced in 1981.

The solution is IPv6, a new standard for Internet addresses that should provide a lot more room for growth: There are 340 undecillion IPv6 addresses available. That’s 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses.

‘If all the space of IPv4 were to be sized and compared to a golf ball, a similar-sized comparison for IPv6 would be the size of the sun,’ said John Curan, the chief executive of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, one of five non-profit organisations that manage Internet addresses for particular regions of the world. — REUTERS

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