By Frank Kenna
It’s true – the Internet is running out of addresses. There will soon be no more “IP addresses”, aka Internet protocol addresses. Those are the numbers that identify addresses and names on the Internet.
The problem is that the 4 billion or so IP addresses that were available have been used up by computers, cell phones, TVs, videogames, automobiles, toys… just about anything that is connected somehow to the Internet.
Running out of numbers is symptomatic of how connected we’ve all become; most of us – and our employees – are tethered every waking moment to phones, most of which are able to instantly search for any bit of information with the tap of a touch screen. What does this mean for managers? A loss of control. But also a gain if handled properly. All this technology presents an opportunity to communicate with employees in ways not contemplated even 5 years ago. But how many of us use those methods? For example, are you using Facebook or Twitter to communicate with your people? Do you even use them at all? If not, shouldn’t you be checking them out? Especially before the Internet runs out?
Actually, you can relax; those people who run the Internet (whoever “they” are) are working on a fix. They’re implementing a new, souped-up IP numbering system called IPv6. It has 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 numbers available. That ought to last a while! Of course that’s what they said 20 years ago about the 4 billion we just used up.
Graphic: The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 1, 2011, p B1