Claudine Beaumont,
London Telegraph
Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2009

Businesses urgently need to upgrade to IPv6, a new version of the internet’s addressing protocol that will hugely increase the number of available addresses.

A survey, conducted by the European Commission, found that few companies are prepared for the switch from the current naming protocol, IPv4, to the new regime, IPv6. Web experts have warned that we could run out of internet addresses within the next two years unless more companies migrate to the new platform.

The IPv4 and IPv6 protocols refer to the way in which web addresses are created and assigned. Each website has a unique IP address, represented by a string of numbers, such as 192.168.1.1, which are then given a user-friendly web address, such as telegraph.co.uk, to make them easier to remember.

The IPv4 protocol uses 32-bit addresses, which enables the web to support around 4.3 billion unique addresses. By contrast, IPv6 uses 128-bit web addresses, creating billions of possible new web addresses – experts estimate it could assign a unique address for every blade of grass on the planet.

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