Home · Networking

The internet has (kind of) run out of space

(CNN) -- On Thursday, the internet as we know it ran out of space.

The nonprofit group that assigns addresses to service providers announced that, on Thursday morning, it allocated the last free internet addresses available from the current pool used for most of the internet's history.

"This is an historic day in the history of the internet, and one we have been anticipating for quite some time," said Raul Echeberria, chairman of the Number Resource Organization.

But fear not. The group has seen this coming for more than a decade and is ready with a new pool of addresses that it expects to last, well, forever. John Curran, CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, said the old pool of Internet Protocol addresses had about 4.3 billion addresses.

"A billion sounds like a lot," Curran said Thursday morning. "But when you think that there's nearly 7 billion people on the planet, and you're talking about two, three, four, five addresses per person (for some Web users), obviously 4.3 billion isn't enough." The new pool, which has technically been ready since 1999, has so many IP addresses that most non-mathematicians probably don't even know the number exists -- 340 undecillion.

That's 340 trillion groups of one trillion networks each. Each network can handle a trillion devices. If the current pool were the size of a golf ball, the new one would be the size of the sun. More...

02-03-2011 19:02

Could the U.S. shut down the internet?

(CNN) -- It seemed so easy for Egypt. Just order a shutdown of the country's internet connections and -- bam -- it happens.

But is such an authoritarian action transferable? Could the U.S. government shut down American internet connections? And is it possible for the global internet to be toppled?

Technically, yes, internet experts said Wednesday, shortly after Egypt's government restored internet connections there as violent political protests continued. But it's highly unlikely.

"Could you break the internet? Yeah. Can you shut it down? No. Shutting down the entire internet would be pretty much impossible at this point," said Jim Cowie, co-founder of Renesys, an worldwide internet tracker. Cowie spoke of the internet as if it were a giant, adaptable worm.

"The funny thing about the internet is even if you break it in half, the two halves will function as [separate] internets," he said. More...

02-03-2011 18:56

WikiLeaks' resilience shows strength of Internet-age lifelines

By Joby Warrick and Rob Pegoraro Thursday, December 9, 2010

Over the past several days, the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks has been hit with a series of blows that have seemed to threaten its survival. Its primary Web address was deactivated, its PayPal account was frozen, and its Internet server gave it the boot.

The result: WikiLeaks is now stronger than ever, at least as measured by its ability to publish online.

Blocked from using one Internet host, WikiLeaks simply jumped to another. Meanwhile, the number of "mirror" Web sites - effectively clones of WikiLeaks' main contents pages - grew from a few dozen last week to 200 by Sunday. By early Wednesday, the number of such sites surpassed 1,000. More...

12-15-2010 17:38