Terrance Heath

The End of the Internet

Filed By Terrance Heath | February 08, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: internet, ip addresses

It's finally happened. We have reached the end of the internet.


Well, sorta.

On Thursday, the internet as we know it ran out of space.

The nonprofit group that assigns addresses to service providers announced that, on Thursday morning, it allocated the last free internet addresses available from the current pool used for most of the internet's history.

"This is an historic day in the history of the internet, and one we have been anticipating for quite some time," said Raul Echeberria, chairman of the Number Resource Organization.

But fear not. The group has seen this coming for more than a decade and is ready with a new pool of addresses that it expects to last, well, forever.

John Curran, CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, said the old pool of Internet Protocol addresses had about 4.3 billion addresses.

The new pool, which has technically been ready since 1999, has so many IP addresses that most non-mathematicians probably don't even know the number exists -- 340 undecillion.

That's 340 trillion groups of one trillion networks each. Each network can handle a trillion devices. If the current pool were the size of a golf ball, the new one would be the size of the sun.

"I hope this is the only transition we ever have to do," Curran said.

OK. So I don't really have to turn the computer off and go outside. Do I?

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I really think that the person or group who was given IP address should have won something ... like maybe a T-shirt saying "I reached the End of the Internet, but all I found there was this lousy T-shirt", or maybe a coupon for a free subscription to Nerd News ...

[* We can either move to IP 2.0 ... or we could just shut down all the porno sites ... Hey, bad idea, let's move on to IP 2.0 ... *]

It's IPv6. We are currently using IPv4 for the most part. The protocol is really old. IP was created in the 70s. That's why 4.3 billion addresses seemed sufficient once.

Also, is the broadcast IP. It would be a pretty bad idea to allocate that for anything else :p

Yep, this scheme goes all the way back to US military projects called ARPA and DARPA -- like so many defense projects, they didn't really know what they were doing, and they assumed that their network, which eventually evolved into today's Internet, would stay a military secret for the next one thousand years.

Yeah, right.

Actually there's a couple of blocks that are reserved. is reserved for loopback,,, and are reserved for private networks. And addresses are reserved for broadcast.


Technically, is a broadcast address. 255 is reserved as a special masked ID to be used to broadcast to a subnet level. So I'm doubting it was given out at all.

Other reserved numbers are 10.X.X.X, and 192.168.X.X, both of which are reserved for private networks, and are generally dropped by "real" internet routers. Private networks would be those used for private internal networks, like your local wireless LAN or internal networks at small companies.

It would be interesting to see what the last block given away was.

Thanks, Woody ... I was just trying to be funny ... but being a former network administrator myself, I should have remembered that network techs often don't know when to laugh and when to take things literally.

But I will hand it to you, you do seem to know your stuff. Now that you mention, I think 192.168.X.X is used for a private network addressing protocol called NAT that routers use ...

I date all the way back to those tiny little DIP switches ... and at this point, I know just enough to really screw everything up.

The internet is huge, much bigger than we can imagine.

... reminds me of my last colonoscopy.

Glad to see so many Geeks & Nerds like myself! Who and how do the Subnets work on IP6?
what if any classes? A,B,C,D. & E existed on IP4 Any Idea on IP6? My inner Geek just wants to know!!!!!! Someone please pass me the Nail polish? I wrecked my manicure clawing at the key board.....