Warning over net address limits
Internet Service Providers urgently need to roll out the next generation of net addresses for online devices, internet pioneer Vint Cerf has said.
Every device that goes online is allocated a unique IP address but the pool of numbers is finite and due to run out around 2010.
A new system, called IPv6, has been awaiting roll out for 10 years.
Unless IPv6 is switched on in the coming years, some devices might not be able to go online, Mr Cerf has warned.
Mr Cerf, who played a key role in the development of the protocols which underpin the global net, said: "There is a risk of not being able to get online."
He added: "The rate of consumption of available remaining IPv4 numbers appears to be on track to run out in 2010/11."
Mr Cerf is about to step down as chairman of Icann, the body which oversees the net, and is also Google's chief internet evangelist.
IPv6 will create 340 trillion trillion trillion separate addresses, enough to satisfy demand for decades to come.