When the current version of the Internet Protocol (IPv4) was conceived in the 1970s, it provided just over 4,000 million addresses, which was more than enough in the days before the Internet explosion. A victim of its own success, the Internet is now nearing saturation point: the IPv4 addresses are expected to run out by around 2005. Moreover, future Internet developments such as wireless machine-to-machine communications, mobile computing and third-generation (3G) telephony will put an even greater strain on these limited resources. The IPv4 can no longer provide each person on the planet with one address. The situation is made much worse by the fact that IPv4 addresses are not distributed evenly - 74% of the IPv4 addresses have been assigned to North American organisations (the Internet was invented in the US), 15% to Europe and 1% to Africa. Furthermore two American universities (Stanford and MIT) each have more addresses than China.IPv6, on the other hand, provides 256 billion addresses. Created by the Internet Engineering Task Force, IPv6 makes the technologies used to work around IPv4's limitations obsolete, making the IPv6 Internet more stable, efficient, powerful, secure and private. (However, "there is no cure-all, we cannot avoid all the problems", admitted one Commission expert.)--Every device connected to the Internet has an IP (Internet Protocol) address, essentially its Internet "postal address". While some of the new addresses will be assigned to users'...

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