Internet IP Addresses To Run Out By 2010 Says Internet Founder

When the first internet protocol structure was put in place in 1977 by Vince Cerf and his team, little did they know that 31 years later, the world would be on the verge of running out of free IP addresses.

According to Cerf, out of the 4.2 billion possible addresses (that's 256 x 256 x 256 x 256), there are only around 600 million left and with the expected explosion in the number of mobile devices connected to the internet, the world could run out of free addresses as early as late 2009/early 2010.

He told The Times that "This is like the internet running out of telephone numbers and with no new numbers, you can't have more subscribers".

There's a new system, known as IPV6, already in place though which should provide 340 undecilion IP addresses - that's 340 followed by 36 zeros (ed: that should be enough for a foreseeable future).

The lack of available IP addresses will mean that there will be no slots for new devices to connect unless the move to IPv6, which has been available for a decade, is accelerated.

It will be interesting to see whether, a decade after the Millennium bug, the world will be gripped by another tech-related "bug".