The Number Resources Organization (NRO), which is responsible for allocating Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) Internet addresses, predicts that it will hand out the final 12 regional blocks of IPv4 addresses in early 2011. Each of the blocks represent 16 million addresses. The final five blocks will be distributed equally to the five regional registries, leaving just seven more blocks available under the normal distribution system, according to the NRO.
"This is a major milestone in the life of the Internet, and means that allocation of the last blocks of IPv4 to the [Regional Internet Registries] is imminent," says NRO chairman Axel Pawlik. "It is critical that all Internet stakeholders take definitive action now to ensure the timely adoption of IPv6."
However, the NRO issuing its final IPv4 address blocks is not expected to have a major impact on end users. The organization maintains that the switch to IPv6 is already well under way and much of the central infrastructure of the Internet is already running on the protocol. Moreover, although vast portions of the Internet have yet to be converted, there does not appear to be a last-minute rush for IPv4 addresses. That indicates "strong momentum" behind the adoption of IPv6, NRO says.
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