IPv4 addresses aren't just going to run out "soon," as technology news outlets have been warning. The very last IPv4 block will be allocated to a regional Internet registry sometime next week, according to a Hurricane Electric announcement released on Wednesday.
What does that mean for businesses and consumers? In the very near term--weeks or a few months--not much. In the long term, quite a lot.
Depending on how addresses are managed "you'll start seeing the first residential customers that can't get IPv4 addresses probably somewhere around the end of 2011. So any corporation or enterprise that doesn't have at least their public facing content and services v6 ready by the end of this year is probably going to be facing a degraded user experience for some fraction of their users," Owen DeLong, IPv6 Evangelist for Hurricane Electric, told FierceTelecom in a recent special report on IPv6 migration.
For now, IT managers and Internet Service Providers will continue using a number of methods to most efficiently use their existing IPv4 addresses. However, requesting additional IPv4 addresses from ISPs or from the regional Internet registries will become more difficult and even expensive.
"In order to avoid costly capital expenditures down the road and possible failure on their business continuity plans, companies must make the migration to IPv6 sooner rather than later," said Martin Levy, Hurricane Electric's Director of IPv6 Strategy. "Companies that fail to migrate to IPv6 will face a number of painful options, including buying expensive equipment to cobble together an address-sharing scheme or going out to the marketplace to acquire IP address space at a potentially exorbitant price."
- see the news release
Crossing the great divide: Migrating to IPv6
IPv6 migration: Are we there yet?
Hurricane Electric backbone now connects 1,000 IPv6 networks