In a ceremony in Montevideo, Uruguay, the Number Resource Organization (NRO) (www.nro.net), the global organization that coordinates the assignment of Internet addresses, announced that the last block of IPv4 addresses had been assigned on January 31, 2011. Does this spell the end of growth for the Internet, just as the industry has been gearing up for 4G wireless smart phones, and streaming video into every family room? Fortunately not, and just like the case of Y2K, the eventual exhaustion of the IPv4 address space had been predicted for some time, giving Internet architects plenty of time to react, and develop a course of action to address the challenge. But let’s back up and first examine the problem, before we look at the solution.

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