A Day to Remember
by April 1, 2011

Filed under: Industry Insights

Think back to February 3rd, 2011.

For most of us, it was a day much like any other.   The headlines were full of news about an Egypt in turmoil as it struggled with its eventual march to Democracy, and there were massive demonstrations and violence in Yemen.

One seemingly tiny bit of news that wasn’t picked up by the mainstream press (this, despite the fact that it will undoubtedly affect billions of us, regardless of where we call home or what form of government we live under) – the internet ran out of addresses, or more specifically, IPv4 addresses.

The Number Resource Organization (NRO) – a group responsible for coordinating the efforts of the five Regional Internet Registries including AfriNIC, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC and RiPE NCC issued the following news release on Feb 3rd 2011.

That’s a pretty big deal – no more IPv4 addresses means that we’ll all be dealing with IPv6 and it’s “funny looking” IP addresses (the familiar IPv4 address of 192.168.1.1 would look like fe80:0:0:0:0:0:c0a8:101 in IPv6)  sooner than we’d probably like.  The good news is that the new IPv6 address space is just a bit larger (approximately 340 undecillion)  than the previous generation IPv4 address space – large enough in fact that if each and every cell and bacteria in every human being (about 200 trillion total per person…) on the planet (about 6.9 billion of us so far …) each had its own unique  ”static IPv6 address”, we could repeat that over 44 trillion times before we’d run out of IPv6 addresses.

I think we’re OK for awhile, at least when it comes to IP addresses.

However, today, April 1st, 2011 is even a bigger day to remember.

This morning at 1:08 AM EDT, the Internet actually ran out of bandwidth.   Using our patented path-based technology to measure all the key internet pipes, we measured 100% network utilization for the entire public Internet for approximately 2 minutes and 13 seconds.  The pipes were 100% utilized using about 1,918,344 Mbps – no more room.

Things cleared up pretty quickly after that – but it happened once, and it’s likely to happen again.    Waiting in line for the latest dancing baby video will soon feel like trying to buy an iPad2 at your local retailer.   You’ll be able to do it, but you’ll just have to be patient.

No doubt, more bandwidth will be brought online soon – but only time will tell if the supply can keep up the demand.

Happy April!