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North America has now run out of IPv4 Internet addresses

IPv4 was established as the standard protocol for allocating numerical addresses to Internet-connected devices in 1981. It has always been limited as it can support a maximum of only 4.3 billion IP addresses.
In the past few years, the stocks of IPv4 addresses have been rapidly used up. The Asia Pacific region was the first to run out in April 2011. Europe, the Middle East and central Asia followed in September 2012 and Latin America ran out in June 2014. Yesterday, North America assigned its last IPv4 address.
The news exemplifies the need for IPv6 to be adopted as widely as possible and as soon as possible. The newer protocol overcomes many of the limitations of IPv4 and allows for a maximum of 340 trillion trillion trillion IP addresses – enough to power the Internet for generations to come.
Despite the formalisation of the IPv6 specification being completed in 1998, the technology only launched in June 2012. As of November 2014, only 5 percent of visitors to Google were using IPv6 despite the urgent need for its widespread usage.
The Internet will continue to work despite the last IPv4 address having been allocated in North America. Although no more addresses can be allocated, server techniques will provide short-term workarounds to ensure that devices can remain connected.
It is now important that companies and businesses endeavour to switch to IPv6 as soon as possible. ITProPortal reports that Axel Pawlik, managing director of the Ripe Network Coordination Centre, said that the usage of IPv6 “is essential to safeguard the future growth of the Internet.”
He added: “The ongoing proliferation of Internet-connected devices and driverless cars cannot happen without IPv6. Similarly, connecting the next billion people to the Internet will ultimately be impossible without IPv6. There are workarounds that may work in the short-term, but if we want a truly open Internet, IPv6 is the only way forward.”
The allocation of the last IPv4 address is an important milestone for the Internet. Although things will continue to work as expected for now, it has become more crucial than ever that new devices and datacentres are configured to be compatible with IPv6.

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