By 2010, new computers won’t be able to get online, warns Internet co-inventor Vint Cerf, unless ISPs adopt IPv6, a new system of assigning IP addresses. IP addresses are unique number strings devices need to get online, but most of the 4 billion numbers possible under the current system are taken. Routing devices are ready for IPv6, but providers are balking at the expensive switch.
“The reason they haven't - which is quite understandable - is that customers haven't asked for it yet,” said Cerf, who helped develop the technical underpinnings of the Net. “My job…is to persuade them to ask for it.” IPv6 provides 340 trillion trillion trillion possible addresses, the BBC explains, which should satisfy demand for decades.