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The Internet is Exhausted

The Internet has run out of space. For the last 30 years or so we have been happily using up the 4 billion available IP addresses. Who would ever have thought that human kind had enough stuff to put up there to use all those addresses? Yet, somehow we managed to exhaust them all. Oops.



According to the IPv4 Exhaustion Counter (above and from here), we have until August 2011 until the world crumbles and the skies fall when we run out of addresses. The Mayans were only off by a year and a couple of months.

Mayan Cartoon
But, have no fear. According to this article in Businessweek we are prepared. IPv6 is finally here and is in the process of being very, very carefully rolled out. IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, which will provide approximately 11 undecillion new IP addresses. How many is that?
Well, to put it in perspective, there will now be enough addresses for every person who's ever lived each to have 1 trillion IP addresses.
According to Wikipedia, an undecillion is either 1036 or 1066 depending on whether you live in the US/modern Britain or Europe/archaic Britain, respectively.


While looking up the word "undecillion", I came across this interesting fact: The name of the largest number is googolplex, which is 10Googol . Wikipedia says:
In 1938, Edward Kasner's nine-year-old nephew, Milton Sirotta, coined the term googol, then proposed the further term googolplex to be "one, followed by writing zeroes until you get tired". 
Kasner then defined a Googol as the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes. That's a lot of zeroes.

What young Milton didn't realize was that his term would subsequently be used in the Sci-Fi classic "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy", nor did he ever imagine that "googol" would be the inspiration for the name of the company that is most famous for searching the seemingly googolplex of websites (actually, just under 1 trillion) out there in Internet land.

Alas, we do not yet have the capacity for 1010100 IPv6 addresses, only 11 undecillion. But hopefully that will last us a few more years until IPv7 is unleashed onto the cyber-world.

Who said more was less?

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