Jun 072011
 
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Companies and individuals have gobbled up nearly every Internet protocol address available

Every computer, modem, server and smartphone that connects to the Internet has a unique Internet protocol (IP) address, which enables users to find it. The address format, known as IPv4, was standardized in 1977 as a 32-digit binary number, making a then seemingly unlimited 4.3 billion addresses (232) available.

Now they’re almost gone. In the past few years Internet and Web companies have begun snapping up a new set of addresses, known as IPv6, that have 128 digits. But the companies have not made them live. That changes on June 8, when Google, Comcast and others will turn on IPv6 addresses for a 24-hour test.

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