If you haven't gotten an iPhone, registered your preferred web address, or otherwise secured your location on the internet, you might want to do so now. According to the European Commission in a recent survey of organizations, most have not upgraded to the new IPv6 internet protocols and are therefore hogging more than their fair share of internet addresses.
This means that if you want to own "SouthFloridaRocksTheMostbecausetheyhavecraiglivingthere.net," you could be shit out of luck next year. You see, if these groups don't upgrade to the newer standard, the number of total web addresses (IP addresses) will remain limited to 4 billion. We're almost there already.
Yep, there are nearly 4 billion connections to the internet (computers, network devices, your phone, etc.). That's pretty amazing on its own, really.
The upgrade from the older IPv4 to the current IPv6 requires equipment upgrades, which is why many of those organizations surveyed by the EC hadn't upgraded. The noncomplying organizations are mostly governmental, educational, and so forth.
In some areas of Europe and Asia, the pinch is already being felt as new addresses within their geographies are becoming harder to obtain. Network slowdowns are becoming common in some areas and will begin to spread to other areas and eventually the web at large as fewer and fewer addresses are available.
As the web slows, of course, many of those noncomplying networks may find themselves abandoned as the commerce and business of the web bypasses or ignores them altogether in order to keep itself up and running.
The new IPv6 standard allows for many billions of addresses, better connectivity for VOIP (Voice over IP) and similar technology, and even in slowing spam.
Most Windows and Mac computers and devices have had this built in for several years now, so it's not likely that your computer or phone is outdated. The same might not be said for those at your local South Florida school, college, or library, however.