The End of the Internet
May 13, 2010 9:36 PM   Subscribe

September 9th, 2011. Mark it on your calendars. Experts say that this will be the day that the last bunch of IPs is given out to ISPs. "...the net's entire existing address space will be exhausted about a year after that date.".

This a prediction based on the current consumption of IPs and limits of the IPv4 system.

Also, no more Oprah on that day either. With these two blows to the fabric of our civilization, what will be left for us?
posted by battlebison (64 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
ClownPenis.fart?
posted by joe lisboa at 9:38 PM on May 13, 2010 [14 favorites]


Don't worry about it. On her last day, Oprah will be unveiling a grab bag of fresh IP addresses placed underneath the audience's chairs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:39 PM on May 13, 2010 [61 favorites]


Source.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:42 PM on May 13, 2010


joe lisboa: it is hard to tell if someone is misinformed when joking, but if you didn't know this has nothing to do with running out of domain names.
posted by idiopath at 9:42 PM on May 13, 2010


I'm stockpiling frozen shrimp. Pontiacs don't fit in my freezer.
posted by peeedro at 9:42 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I know, Idiopath. Chalk it up to my wanting to type the words: clown, penis, dot, and fart. Carry on.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:44 PM on May 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


"...the net's entire existing address space will be exhausted about a year after that date.".

A year after 2011? You mean... 2012?

Ah, I see what you did there, Mayans.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:44 PM on May 13, 2010 [16 favorites]


But imagine a world wherein we run out of domain names!1!
posted by joe lisboa at 9:44 PM on May 13, 2010


Actually, you might need to worry, because on Oprah's last day, Tom Cruise stops by for a cameo, jumps on the couch, sheds his skin and then starts devouring people whole to feed his insatiable protein lust. Armageddon is gonna suck, but maybe the dead will relinquish their IPs to the living, so who knows? It might all balance out in the end.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:46 PM on May 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


Metafilter has never done IP discussions well.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:51 PM on May 13, 2010 [18 favorites]


Comedically enough, clownpenis.com redirects to "Palm Beach Jewelry" for some reason. .org and .net exist, but are just parked domains. No clownpenis.mil or clownpenis.gov, obviously. Britons, however, may rejoice in the fact that clownpenis.co.uk is available, but may be registered shortly after I post this.

("clownpenis.fart" was an old SNL gag, where a company had to use that as its website because it was the very last thing available)
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:53 PM on May 13, 2010


So the domain register sez to me he sez "I've been issuing address space all year and boy are my IP numbers exhausted!"
posted by mazola at 9:53 PM on May 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


No clownpenis.mil or clownpenis.gov, obviously.

THATS WHAT TEYH WANT YOU TO THINK
posted by joe lisboa at 9:55 PM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


man they keep asking for new IP numbers just put a new netmask on the old one they won't notice the difference
posted by idiopath at 9:56 PM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


How can we, the BBC, show that this related to China's increasing usage of the internet?
posted by boo_radley at 9:59 PM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Jenny, don't get assigned a new IP
86.75.30.9

(Jenny does not appear to be running a web server though she does respond to pings)
posted by idiopath at 10:05 PM on May 13, 2010 [37 favorites]


Billy, Billy won't you choose an IP number
Cos' you're not anywhere on the web
That I can find you
Oh now Billy, Billy won't you choose an IP number
Cos' you're not anywhere that I can find you, oh no

Google came at night leaving fear behind
Shadows were on the ground
Nobody knew where to find him on the web
No address was found

"I'm never getting that"
They heard him cry
And I believe him
He never meant to lose out on the dot-com
It's gonna get worse if he waits too long

Billy, Billy won't you choose an IP number
Cos' you're not anywhere (on the web)
That I can find you
Oh now Billy, Billy won't you choose an IP number
Cos' you're not anywhere that I can find you, ohh

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:17 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


9-9-11. NEVER FORGET. (interesting numerical coincidence there)
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:22 PM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


And yet I still can't get my ISP to provide IPv6 routing. Sigh.
posted by hattifattener at 10:32 PM on May 13, 2010


And yet I still can't get my ISP to provide IPv6 routing. Sigh.

Eh, I can't get my ISP to admit that a linux computer can connect to their network.
posted by Netzapper at 10:39 PM on May 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


clownpenis.gov was retired when Bush left office
posted by mannequito at 10:48 PM on May 13, 2010 [15 favorites]


Nice post, but I don't know about this article:

The net is built around version four of the Internet Protocol addressing scheme (IPv4) which has space for about four billion addresses. Its successor - IPv6 - has trillions available.

trillions eh?

The very large IPv6 address space supports a total of 21^28 (about 3.4×10^38) addresses—or approximately 5×10^28 (roughly 2^95) addresses for each of the roughly 6.8 billion (6.8×10^9) people alive in 2010.[10] In another perspective, this is the same number of IP addresses per person as the number of atoms in a metric ton of carbon. wikipedia:ipv6

3.4x10^26 trillions
posted by melatonic at 10:53 PM on May 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


probably because the editor thought it looked silly to say "GAZILLIONS!!!"
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:15 PM on May 13, 2010


According to a quick whois, 86.75.30.9 is allocated to some company in France. If there were any justice in the world, it would be the IP for tommytutone.com.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:26 PM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, the world will end three months hence so it's not that big of a deal.
posted by delmoi at 11:42 PM on May 13, 2010


Another peak IP alarmism article. What's next? Widespread IP address wars in 2017?

If you ask me, this is a good thing. Running out of IP addresses is probably our best defense against the coming robot apocalypse.
posted by aubilenon at 11:43 PM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


1036 is 1 undecillion so 3.4×10^38 would be 340 undecillion. Or .34 duodecillion, according to this page
posted by delmoi at 12:23 AM on May 14, 2010


Several companies (GE, Apple, Ford, USPS, see this link) were allocated "Class A" networks, 16 million IP addresses each. And HP, because of mergers now has multiples of those! Reclamation of those would add a lot of breathing room. But can and will any of those companies give some up? Let's say they give up half? Surely 8 million is plenty, even for MIT.
posted by girlhacker at 1:14 AM on May 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


There are basically two possible fates, as I see it:

1) A really healthy open market for IP space opens up
2) The rest of the world basically says, "Open up that space, or we're just going to start squatting on it."

One of the two. There is no 3) where IPv6 (which is actually much cooler than people realize, 128 bit address screwup notwithstanding) magically works universally.
posted by effugas at 1:19 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


But can and will any of those companies give some up?

well they could, but renumbering *realy* sucks...
posted by russm at 3:55 AM on May 14, 2010


hattifattener: It physically pains me to say this but Comcast is actually on the ball for IPv6. Of course that might be because they have more cablemodems than will fit into 10/8 but still.
posted by Skorgu at 4:20 AM on May 14, 2010


IPv6 for those who, like me, don't know what it is; and also for those too lazy to type "IPv6 wiki" in Google.
posted by Vindaloo at 5:21 AM on May 14, 2010


No, by then most networks will have implemented OAT (Oprah Address Translation) so we can share private Oprah spaces instead of using the publicly available ones.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:41 AM on May 14, 2010


TTL = 41,731,200,000 ms
posted by blue_beetle at 5:52 AM on May 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


The total number of IPv6 addresses is almost completely irrelevant, because they're being allocated in a way that nearly all of them will remain unused. The addressing plan basically tries to have each portion of the 128-bit address mean something, so for example the first 32 bits will identify a specific ISP and all addresses assigned to customers by that ISP will have the same 32-bit prefix.

Similarly, ISPs are expected to give each of their customers one specific prefix (which might be 48, 56, or 64 bits long, or some other length entirely) so that all addresses for that customer will have a common prefix.

The point of this is to make it easy to aggregate blocks of IP addresses into a single entry in a routing table. Right now, under IPv4, the routing tables are kind of a huge mess because addresses handed out to ISPs and customers often don't have any common prefix at all. But one result of this kind of address allocation scheme is that it necessarily leaves a lot of unused addresses.

A 32-bit ISP prefix gives enough prefixes for 4 billion ISPs. Nobody is expecting anything link that number of ISPs to exist, so even at that level much of the available address space won't get used. A 64-bit prefix assigned to a customer gives that customer about 18 quintillion addresses to play with, so obviously they'll be almost all unused too, and yet each ISP can have about 4 billion such customers before running out of customer-specific prefixes.
posted by FishBike at 5:53 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


9.9.11.23?
posted by joecacti at 5:56 AM on May 14, 2010


I'm not worried. I inherited my great grandfather's IP address: 1.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:02 AM on May 14, 2010


Nobody worry, I'm going to give back the IPs I'm using. I've got about twenty million IPs here that start with 10.x.x.x, so everybody just start using those.
posted by Hoenikker at 6:34 AM on May 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


This article was useless. I am not a tech expert and I left with no greater understanding of the problem than I had when I read the alarmist headline.

Could someone please explain what the hell any of that meant for those of us who don't know what IPvwhateverthehell is?
posted by jefficator at 6:37 AM on May 14, 2010


Well if they reset the router in the gulf that's leaking 5,000 IP addresses a day, we'd have a bit more breathing room.
posted by geoff. at 6:42 AM on May 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wait, is it just me or is that the worst photo accompanying a news article ever? It feels like the Onion took over the BBC technology reporting...
posted by jardinier at 6:44 AM on May 14, 2010


jefficator - just open up your mind, and look deep inside, the answers are all there... if you have trouble focusing or blocking out external noise, just keep repeating this mantra: 127.0.0.1. 127.0.0.1, 127.0.0.1, 127.0.0.1...
posted by jardinier at 6:56 AM on May 14, 2010


jefficator, basically it works like this: every computer needs an IP address to connect to a network. An IP is just a number, but it's limited in how long it is. Nobody thought, back in the 70's, that this would ever be a problem, since it left enough space for about 4 billion IPs. Well since then we've built a whole lot more computers (and servers, and virtual servers, and smart phones, a networked toasters, etc...) and we're going to run out of IPs. It doesn't help that when we first started giving out IPs they were like candy, and a few organizations have way more IPs then they really need but they don't have to give them back (Department of Defense, I'm looking at you).

IPv6 is the solution, which will let us make all the IP addresses longer, and therefor give us more to use. Problem is, it requires us to replace/upgrade a lot of the equipment that is running the Internet right now, and most companies haven't started to do that yet.
posted by Hoenikker at 7:01 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


These go to eleven.
posted by swift at 7:03 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


So is this like the special Tenth Anniversary Release of the Y2K scare?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:14 AM on May 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


She doesn't seem at all worried about that Mac falling off the table, or getting noodle juice on it. And she doesn't seem to be saying O Noes, No More Intarweb Numbers. Needs More False Alarmism.
posted by theora55 at 7:16 AM on May 14, 2010


Problem is, it requires us to replace/upgrade a lot of the equipment that is running the Internet right now, and most companies haven't started to do that yet.

I'm sure if we gave companies hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks they would upgrade their equipment.



BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

:sigh:
posted by ryoshu at 7:18 AM on May 14, 2010


I loooooooooooooooooooooooooove IPv6, because it's like magic. Meaning- it seems impossible to the naked eye but it really just involves slight of hand and some shell-shuffling. For example:

Q) What's the link-local address in IPv4?
A) Usually 169.254.0.0/16, if APIPA is active.

Q) What's the link local address in IPv6?
A) It will start with FE80:0000:0000:0000. Of course, an IPv6 address is 128-bits long, so we need to come up with something to fill in that last 64-bit space. Here's what you do. Take the MAC address for your computer. For example:
11-22-33-FA-FA-FA

And split it in half. Add FFFE in the middle of that.

112233FFFEFAFAFA

Now, take the second hex digit of this and convert it to binary.

1 = 0001.

Take the third binary digit of this and flip it (if it's a 1 it becomes 0, and vice-versa)

0011

Convert this back to hex and put it back in the second position.

132233FFFEFAFAFA

Slap this on the end of the FE80:0000:0000:0000, and you have your IPv6 address!

FE80:0000:0000:0000:1322:33FF:FEFA:FAFA

It's as simple as that! (Actually, you can write it as FE80::1322:33FF:FEFA:FAFA, but I'm already far in tl;dr territory so I'll leave that for someone else to explain)

Extra Fun Note: this doesn't apply to Windows! I think the Windows method involves chicken bones and tea leaves.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:44 AM on May 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dr-Baa, that reminds me of a conversation with a co-worker quite a few years ago, who was not looking forward to have to read out 6 dot-separated numbers over the phone compared to 4, once we switched from IPv4 to IPv6.

He thought we'd go from
1.2.3.4
to
1.2.3.4.5.6
I almost didn't have the heart to explain how much worse the situation would be than that.
posted by FishBike at 8:11 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


8888::DEAD:BEEF
posted by delmoi at 8:17 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


These go to eleven.

That's kinda the problem.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:28 AM on May 14, 2010


He thought we'd go from

1.2.3.4


That's the combination to my luggage.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 9:36 AM on May 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I suppose we could un-blackball all the IPs we null routed years ago because some spammers used them once...
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:32 AM on May 14, 2010


So is this like the special Tenth Anniversary Release of the Y2K scare?

In that a large number of stressed-out techies will need to do a lot of work before anyone notices things going wrong, yes.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:34 AM on May 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


seems impossible to the naked eye but it really just involves slight of hand and some shell-shuffling. For example…

"Just?" Are you fucking kidding me?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:24 AM on May 14, 2010


Oh yeah, I forgot to mention unicorns. There's unicorns in there somewhere.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:39 AM on May 14, 2010


"So is this like the special Tenth Anniversary Release of the Y2K scare?"

In some ways better and in some ways worse. If nothing changes it's better because existing unupgraded equipment won't fail en masse; it's worse because instead their little be bits of the internet this equipment can't reach and vice versa and those bits will slowly expand. But like Y2K it's pretty unlikely to be a disaster because alot of people are going to spend a lot of time and money to prevent it. I wonder how many installations of windows pre-Win2K (and all 9X) are going to be borked though.
posted by Mitheral at 1:38 PM on May 14, 2010


jefficator:

What this means for you as an end user depends on what ISP's plan to do.

The worst case is the IPv4 space is exhausted and your ISP will no longer give you your own IP address. They ignore IPv6 and shove you behind their own NAT system. Your IP will shared with other subscribers to your ISP and will not be static. This means lots of strange things may happen, from making torrents fail to limiting the number of services you can utilize at home. The flexibility that has made the internet successful will go away.* There will be extra layers of NAT involved which will slow down every transaction.

The slightly less worse case is we all migrate to IPv6 which will be complex and is not going to be a clean cut over. However, once it is done you'll have more flexibility that ever and it is likely new services will be developed to take advantage of the new directly addressable machines.

* For the techies: I'm glossing over a lot here. ISP hosted NAT is going to be very weird and complex; I'm not sure I can really grasp exactly how this will be different for a regular user. In short, sharing an IP means you won't have 16 bits of port addressing anymore and won't be able to host any services since you can't reserve any port numbers. For someone who doesn't know TCP/IP this doesn't mean anything. For someone who does, it is a little disturbing.
posted by chairface at 3:24 PM on May 14, 2010


The slightly less worse case is we all migrate to IPv6 which will be complex and is not going to be a clean cut over. However, once it is done you'll have more flexibility that ever and it is likely new services will be developed to take advantage of the new directly addressable machines.

That's the best case, man! And a very excellent result indeed. The migration to IPv6 is most geeks' wet dream (as an end user). All of the things we've invented klugey solutions for will be solved by the fundamental IP protocol (address assignment, real multicast, link local addresses, portable/user-associated addresses with predictable masking and routing).

What's more, IPv6 is backwards compatible. The entire v4 address space is a subspace of the v6 address space. v4-only endpoint systems will still be able to connect, and will be routable over v6. And given that you can tunnel both directions (v6 in v4, and v4 in v6), there's really no reason that the transition has to be at all problematic.

The only real issue is that infrastructure will need to be replaced with v6-capable hardware. While this may be expensive, it should be noted that many top-level telecoms have already implemented v6 in their core infrastructure. In fact, Comcast has even rolled out an end-user trial. You can already get a leased line or colo to Hurricane Electric via IPv6. China is rolling out v6 nationwide.

The claims that v6 won't happen are pure alarmism. It's already happening.

In short, sharing an IP means you won't have 16 bits of port addressing anymore and won't be able to host any services since you can't reserve any port numbers. For someone who doesn't know TCP/IP this doesn't mean anything. For someone who does, it is a little disturbing.

It's more than a little disturbing. The whole fucking point of the internet is that computer A can talk to computer B. It's bad enough we have organization-level NAT. If my ISP is NATing me (like my cell provider does), I'll freak the fuck out. It isn't just torrents and services, it's all sorts of peer-to-peer architectures. Oh, and most anything written in UDP.

ISP-level NAT is wholly and completely unacceptable. It's a giant fucking step backwards. And while many people won't even notice (like they don't on their cellphones), lots of people would make a big enough stink over their shit not working that it would only be an interim or bargain-priced solution at best.
posted by Netzapper at 4:42 PM on May 14, 2010


> Your IP will shared with other subscribers to your ISP and will not be static.

This is already happening and has been for ~5 years in East Asia's next-gen telco networks. With telephony running off VoIP there aren't nearly enough IPv4 addresses to assign one to each household, so you get hidden behind NAT with no interface to configure port-forwarding.

In the cases I've seen they do at least also give you a proper publically-routable IPv6 address in parallel with the NATted IPv4, for what that's worth (until home routers and indeed the rest of the internet catches up, that's very little).
posted by BobInce at 2:41 AM on May 15, 2010


Several companies (GE, Apple, Ford, USPS, see this link) were allocated "Class A" networks, 16 million IP addresses each. And HP, because of mergers now has multiples of those! Reclamation of those would add a lot of breathing room. But can and will any of those companies give some up? Let's say they give up half? Surely 8 million is plenty, even for MIT.

Easier said than done. Much easier in some cases. GE is actually several dozen companies under the umbrella of the parent name. And unlike many large companies that use private addressing internally, pretty much all of GE's divisions occupy "threespace" (3.0.0.0/8) throughout their enterprise. Basically you're talking about rearchitecting the entire IT infrastructure of one of the world's largest corporations. This is an extremely nontrivial task. I was once asked to scope out the task of mapping GE's networks; it came to several man-months just for the scanning, even without back-end data merging & analysis. I can't even imagine the disruption to GE's business required to make this happen.
posted by scalefree at 4:55 PM on May 15, 2010


I miss the older, more innocent days when one could choose one's IP freely.
posted by kittyprecious at 9:12 AM on May 17, 2010


guess it's a good thing that I own a C-class block, then. :D
posted by Vamier at 3:01 PM on May 17, 2010


I miss the older, more innocent days when one could choose one's IP freely.

I'm looking for Amanda Huggenkiss. Can anyone find me Amanda Huggenkiss?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:31 PM on May 18, 2010


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