North America has finally run out of new addresses based on IPv4, the numbering system that got the Internet where it is today but which is running out of space for the coming era of networking.
The American Registry for Internet Numbers, the nonprofit group that distributes Internet addresses for the region, said Thursday it has assigned the last addresses in its free pool. The announcement came after years of warnings from ARIN and others that IPv4 addresses were running out and that enterprises and carriers should adopt the next protocol, IPv6.
IPv4 dates back to 1981 and only has room for 4.3 billion unique addresses. IPv6, introduced in 1999, should have enough addresses to serve Internet users for generations, according to ARIN.
Anyone who still needs IPv4 addresses can request them from ARIN, but the organization won’t have any to give away unless it gets more from the global Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) or returned addresses from users who don’t need them anymore. ARIN already runs a waiting list for requests, which it set up earlier this year.