TO THE lay observer it seems like an infinite network of computers, servers and cables stretching around the globe.
But the worldwide web is filling up. So quickly, it turns out, that programmers have had to devise a new one.
Of the internet addresses available, more than three quarters are already in use, and the remainder are expected to be assigned by 2009. So, what will happen as more people in developing countries come online? The answer is IPv6, a new internet protocol that has more spaces than the old one: 340,282,366,920,938,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000 spaces, in fact. ”œCurrently there’s four billion addresses available and there are six billion humans on Earth, so there’s obviously an issue there,” said David Kessens, chairman of the IPv6 working group at RIPE, one of five regional internet registries in charge of rolling it out.