We've been hearing about an upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol for years and yet IPv6 is still in its infancy when it comes to deployment. However, with fewer than 10 percent of IPv4 addresses remaining available for allocation it seems as though time has finally come to ramp up adoption.

In a recent statement the Number Resource Organization (NRO) warned that it is vital for the future network operations of all businesses and organizations to step up their migration to IPv6. The replacement addressing system uses a 128-bit address space and can handle trillions of connected devices, whereas -- surprising as it may seem -- IPv4's roughly 4 billion addresses are starting to dry out.

However, where previous estimates had IPv4 addresses running out in 2011, it now appears they are more likely to be depleted in 2012. Many businesses have been putting off the switch because of time and cost constraints, while others maintain that NAT routing reduces the pressure to move to IPv6 and will continue to do so.

Only a handful of companies and government entities have already started supporting the new addressing system. Google went live with IPv6 addresses for some of its properties in March 2009, while the EU began its migration in October. Others on the list include Netflix, Limelight and Comcast.