During the time when computers were still just a primordial ooze, even the greatest of minds couldn’t comprehend how immensely vast the Internet would become. As famously said by (apparently no one) “640K is more memory than anyone will ever need“. At the time, 640k was more than enough to store a bitmap or two, and likewise, filling 4.3 billion IP addresses would seem to be an unimaginably lofty goal.
But, the end is nigh. “Within weeks”, we will meet that limit, and the Internet will officially run out of address space, causing a major inconvenience as data attempts to find a buddy to packet-pool with. (Or, until the industry adopts IPv6, which is a much roomier protocol.)
Vint Cerf, the creator of the IPv4 protocol, has already sacked up and accepted blame for the shortage, although the real culprit is likely those glittery GeoCities sites which devoured the ’90s web like a black hole with yo mama at the center of it.
“I thought it was an experiment and I thought that 4.3 billion would be enough to do an experiment. Who the hell knew how much address space we needed?” — Cerf
The move to IPv6 will create trillions of additional addresses, which should buy us another year or so until this whole “Internet fad” comes to a halt.