Relief is on the way for the web-address crunch, in the way of a technology that can provide every person and just about every device on the planet with an IP address.
In response to the rapid growth in the use of the web, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has announced that it has added next-generation IPv6 technology to its root DNS (domain name system) servers. In theory, this would enable every person and every device to grab an IP address.
The move has been prompted by growing concerns that today's system, based on IPv4, could soon become overloaded and run out of domain addresses, particularly in Asia.
IPv6 quadruples the size of the Internet address field from 32 bits to 128 bits, resulting in the potential availability of trillions of additional addresses. These will give not only every human an address but also every mobile phone, refrigerator, washing machine and device that could be imaginably linked to the Internet.
On Tuesday, the TLDs (top level domains) of Japan and Korea (.jp and .kr) became the first to support IPv6, with France expected to follow shortly, ICANN said.