Monday, February 7, 2011

Colleges could profit as internet runs out of addresses

The internet is running out of numerical addresses – known as IP addresses – and that might not be so bad for colleges and universities prepared for the transition to the next web protocol, as campuses could sell their current IP addresses and help fill budget shortfalls prevalent in higher education.

Campus technologists and internet policy experts said the switch from the current IPv4 to the next generation of IP addresses – IPv6 – has been closely tracked since the mid-1990s.

Universities might be able to “avoid major growing pains” if companies, organizations, and institutions that hold the rights to hundreds of millions of unused IPv4 addresses reallocated those addresses and built “their systems with IPv6 standards,” said Raymond Schroeder, director of the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Center for Online Learning, Research, and Services.

“This certainly is a point of transition. … The success of the internet has far outstripped our visions of decades ago,” he said. “But it doesn’t have to be a point of disaster or scarcity of addresses.”

The current internet address system, IPv4, has been in place since the 1980s.

Schroeder's comments were featured in a February 2, 2011, edition of eCampus News.

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