The fast-draining reservoir of IP addresses maintained by the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will soon be depleted. Once this happens, computers and other gadgets might have to start sharing instead of having unique identifying numbers. New websites or online services stuck with shared IP addresses wouldn’t perform as well as pre-existing offerings that have numbers all to themselves. Google reports that in a worst case scenario, running out of IPv4 addresses with no switch to IPv6 would mean new gadgets wouldn’t be able to connect to the Internet because addresses weren’t available, according to ICANN. The effort and expense of changing to IPv6 would fall mostly on Internet service providers.
“‘Ideally, people will see nothing,’ Beckstrom said of a transition to IPv6.
But, ‘if enough networks don’t move to IPv6,’ he continued, ‘people could literally see nothing because they can’t connect the next iPad, iPhone, or whatever.'”