Well, it’s bound to get some additional press over the next couple of weeks but as another heads up the IPv4 address space is gradually running out. I covered this previously where I touched on various predictions over the years of when the IPv4 address space would be exhausted and a few of the benefits of its succeeding protocol, IPv6.
The first exhaustion milestone relates to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and its ability to hand out IPv4 addresses to the major registries including APNIC, AfriNIC, ARIN, LACNIC and RIPE who handle the IP address allocations for their respective parts of the world. These registries in turn dole out IP addresses to the likes of various network providers such as ISPs and mobile carriers so that the can be assigned to customers (either statically or dynamically).
The last of the the “/8 blocks” containing around sixteen million addresses each will be given to the registries either by the end of January 2011 or the first week of February 2011. The registries could be expected to run out of addresses by the middle of the year (which would be the second exhaustion milestone) whilst individual ISPs and network providers would be left to scrounge together whatever IPv4 addresses they have left until they can transition to IPv6.
Anyway, if you want to check on how how much of the address space is left you can head on over to the Hurricane Electric IPv4 Exhaustion Counter. There are also apps available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices as well as desktop gadgets for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Mac OS X.