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The internet has run out of room.Like a prairie with no more vacant land to homestead or a hip area code with no more cellphone numbers, the pool of available numeric internet addresses has been completely allocated as of Thursday (.pdf).With that, the frontier has closed. The internet — in its current form — is now completely colonized. All that’s left is to divide the allocated properties into ever-smaller portions, or to start trading what’s already been assigned.This change will have no immediate effect on ordinary people, but will eventually force any company that wants to be on the internet to reckon with a complicated and potentially expensive technology transition.It could also introduce widespread delays and other strange behavior into the internet at large.“In a sense the net’s going to get stickier,” says John Heidemann, a computer scientist at the University of Southern California who has done a survey of the distribution of internet addresses, shown above. “It’ll be harder to do things that used to be easy.”The shortage of addresses could eventually slow down your favorite web services, make it harder for websites to verify your identity, and complicate the design of services that depend on computer-to-computer connections, like peer-to-peer file sharing, Skype and more.The change is going to happen gradually, over a period of years, but it will happen, say experts who have studied the problem, and it starts today.“This is 100% a real issue,” says Martin J. Levy, the director of IPv6 strategy at Hurricane Electric, a provider of high-bandwidth internet data and colocation services that has been predicting the exhaustion of addresses for some time now. “We are dealing with a finite resource. We are going to run out. And we are going to have build a new system that gets around that issue.”“It’s not really a shortage so much as exhaustion. It’s gone,” says Kumar Reddy, a director of technical marketing at Cisco, about the address space.(click here to go to rest of article where implications of this and possible solutions are discussed)