Only 10 per cent of the entire IPv4 address range is still available and businesses need to start preparing for the switch to IPv6 within the next two years, according to the Number Resource Organisation (NRO).
The NRO is the official representative of the five Regional Internet Registries that oversee the worldwide allocation of internet number resources, and has called on various internet stakeholders to help facilitate the use of IPv6 addresses.
Axel Pawlik, chairman of the NRO, explained that it is particularly important for governments to take the lead by ensuring that they are using IPv6 technology in order to bring their vendors and other users onboard.
"We've seen some governments such as the Germans and Japanese take good steps to prepare for a switchover to IPv6, and it's important that others take this lead to help educate organisations about the switchover," he said.
Pawlik also argued that organisations and their staff had been too relaxed about the upcoming need to move to IPv6, and must act now to make the change as smooth as possible.
"There is very little time left to make the switchover but there is enough time for IT teams to plan and test their switchover to IPv6 before 2012, rather than panicking at the last moment," he said.
The NRO also called on the business sector to provide IPv6-capable services and platforms, including web hosting and equipment, to help ensure accessibility for IPv6 users.
Pawlik maintained that a failure to move to IPv6 could stifle the growth of the internet, and warned businesses reliant on the internet for their day-to-day operations that a failure to prepare for IPv6 could affect their position in the market.
"There is a danger that, as some firms start to offer IPv6 capabilities, those still on IPv4 will start to lose business to customers who move to firms with the additional capabilities IPv6 could offer," he said.
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