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IPv4 Exhaustion

As Internet growth has grown and then exploded over the past 30 years, IPv4 has faced a problem. It could only provide addresses for 2^32 addresses (4,294,967,296). This limit is decreased, however, as 288 million of these addresses are unavailable for regular public use - they are special-purpose addresses.

It has been known that the world will run out of addresses since the early to mid-1990s, so a number of technologies have come along to help address these issues. Network Address Translation (NAT) is the best example as it meant that larger companies were able to rely on a single or small pool of addresses. However, as of January 31 2011, there are no more IPv4 addresses available for public usage.

As there are no more IPv4 addresses available, the need for Internet users to understand, embrace, and transition to IPv6 is pressing and urgent. The reason for this is that the Internet has expanded so far that it is no longer possible for every computer to switch to IPv6 at once. This was the transition method that led to the use of IPv4: on January 1 1983, the collection of networks that formed the then-fledgling Internet (then called ARPANET) switched over to IP.


  

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