Although the internet seems virtually endless, the U.S. organization that allocates addresses to companies is running out of combinations. This is a potential problem for all corporations in America. When the IPv4 protocol was created in 1981, 4.3 billion addresses were available for American businesses. At the time, the vast amount of internet space seemed like enough, but with the expansion of the internet and social media, the U.S. quickly used up most of the space on the IPv4 system. Thankfully, there is a solution for the shortage, but it may be costly to companies that have not switched away from IPv4.
IPv6, approved in 1998, increases internet space from 4.3 billion addresses to a whopping 340 undecillion. The massive amount of IPv6 addresses is enough to assign every gram of matter on Earth an IP address. The upgrade is expensive, but will be necessary for all American businesses that use the internet. So far, only 9% of the Internet has made the switch from IPv4 to IPv6. Many companies are putting off the big upgrade, and the ones that haven’t yet made the switch are scrambling to get the last of the IPv4 addresses.
Companies such as Amazon are buying addresses from other companies like Xerox. In addition to buying the last of the IPv4 addresses, entrepreneurs are making millions transferring IPv4 addresses to IPv6 addresses. With the internet playing an integral role in business, many companies will pay considerable amounts to transfer addresses. The transfers will result in many more available addresses, until the next generation of IP addresses is created.