Internet runs out of addresses – a model for climate policy inaction
Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-04
I cannot imagine a better model of the political response to climate change than the way IPv4 internet addresses have just run out.
Domain experts warning for years about a crisis: but politicians doing nothing, powerful businesses charging big bucks for resources running dry… Sound familiar?
The only difference between the political inaction making the shift to IPv6 is that the perfect solution was already in place years ago, pretty soon after the geeks started worrying.
Even when we have a perfectly good and economical solution, and no possibility of a Plan B, even when the world absolutely relies on the smooth operation and expansion of the internet, the politicians cannot move until it’s too late, until there is metaphorically no more oil in the ground, no more at the refineries, just what is left in cars and a few service stations.
So if the politicians cannot move with nearly 20 years warning, where there are by definition only 4 billion computers that can be connected to the net at any one time with IPv4, where there is a cheap solution available, then what is the chance of getting movement in time on climate before disaster strikes?
Stuff all I reckon.
Most of you won’t know what I’m talking about. Essentially, IPv4 is like a phone number with 4 billion possible numbers, it’s the number that your computer uses when you type whereiwanttogo.com.au into your browser. IPv6 allows 17 million trillion different addresses to be connected to the internet at once. Those sorts of numbers never run out untill we have a population of 17 trillion humans each with a million computers on line at any one time. With unlimited supply, the charge ISPs can levy for renting an address is close to zero.