Friday, February 4, 2011


Email Addresses are Running Out

Apparently the world is running out of email addresses. This may have been missed by many internet users when announced in January 2011. When first developed noone ever expected that the number of internet users and available email addresses could run out. Since then the Internet has grown  exponentially into a global network connecting billions of people, this now including mobile and handheld devices faster than the mainframes of the last century.

95% of the original 4.3 billion combinations have been used. The explosion of the internet and  electronic communications  have eaten up the possible combinations. 32-bit addresses have been the standard for Internet file transfer encoding, but after 30 years of using this email format the Internet is running out of space.  Most of these addresses use a format called IPv4 .

In the late 1970's was when Vint Cerf, the program manager for the ARPA Internet research project chose a 32-bit address format for an experiment in packet network interconnection. Cerf is widely known a the father of the internet, and now one of the driving forces behind Google's efforts to develop a new format to replace IPv4.

This new format called IPv6 is the only long-term solution, although it has not yet been widely deployed. This is the main concern, with IPv4 addresses expected to run out in 2011, only 0.2% of Internet users have native IPv6 connectivity.

This new format will result in 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 unique addresses.  E-mail formats may change but there will also be a way to add more as we all must have our email everyday.
Google had this to say about the change over on ," Together with major web companies such as Facebook and Yahoo!, we will enable IPv6 on our main websites for 24 hours. This is a crucial phase in the transition, because while IPv6 is widely deployed in many networks, it’s never been used at such a large scale before. We hope that by working together with a common focus, we can help the industry prepare for the new protocol, find and resolve any unexpected issues, and pave the way for global deployment."

" The good news is that Internet users don’t need to do anything special to prepare for World IPv6 Day. Our current measurements suggest that the vast majority (99.95%) of users will be unaffected. However, in rare cases, users may experience connectivity problems, often due to misconfigured or misbehaving home network devices. Over the coming months we will be working with application developers, operating system vendors and network device manufacturers to further minimize the impact and provide testing tools and advice for users."

Google has been supporting IPv6 since early 2008, when Google also first began offering search over IPv6. Since then they have brought IPv6 support to YouTube and have been helping ISPs enable Google over IPv6 by default for their users. Google and major websites already joined together with the Internet Society to announce World IPv6 Day on 01/12/2011, a 24-hour test flight of the next generation Internet protocol on June 8, 2011. 

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