You must have heard by now that the Internet is running out of IP addresses. The current addressing scheme, IP version 4, allows for a much smaller finite number of addresses than people would like, what with all of these new fangled Internet aware gadgets and so forth popping up all over the place and wanting to get connected.

"Global momentum is growing for a new address system, known as IPv6, which promises to vastly expand the pool of unique numbers available for connecting PCs and other devices to the Net. The standard is widely seen as a necessary successor to the current IPv4 system, which some fear could run short of addresses in Asia and Europe within the next few years."

But the problem is, the USA doesn't perceive the problem is being quite as immediate as the rest of the world seems to, "thanks to unique conditions that will likely guarantee the region a steady supply of IPv4 addresses for years to come.... Since fear of an address shortage is the single biggest argument in favor of a switch, the United States could stay on the sidelines as the rest of the world wrestles with the upgrade over the coming years, networking experts said."

The IP versions created 30 years ago were 32 bits long. Under that scheme, there are 4.3 billion different number combinations. IPv6 addresses are 128 bits. The resulting list of IP addresses is two googols long, an enormous number. "It's a nearly infinite address space," said Cisco Systems Vice President Sangeeta Anand. A move to IPv6 is mandatory for a future world that is becoming increasingly wired day by day.

Full story here.