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The end of the world … and we do not care.

The IPv4 address space is officially exhausted … and we should not care.

Internet addresses depletion reflects wired world

Take this as a distinction between engineers and … the real world.

The number of network-addressable objects connected to the Internet is climbing dramatically. The IPv4 address space is limited to 2^32 (~4 billion) addresses. For an engineer, clearly there is the possibility of many network-addressable devices per human. Since the world population is in excess of 4 billion, the IPv4 address space is clearly not enough.

Engineers are mainly good-willed constructive folk. As such they tend not to think easily about how technology can be subverted. To an engineer it makes perfect sense to place every semi-intelligent device on the open Internet, to allow the maximum number of constructive interactions. Engineers are good folk.

The world has quite a number of not-so-good folk, who are more than willing to subvert the work of well-intentioned engineers. The chance of subversion means the devices should not be placed on the global Internet, unless there is good reason, and unless very very well-defended.

Caution means most potentially network-addressable nodes should not be on the open Internet. (Do you want your robot vacuum exposed on the Internet? How about your smart front door lock? Your TV video recorder? Your not-entirely-secured daughter’s laptop?) Caution means the number of nodes exposed on the open Internet should be far less than one per human.

If the number of exposed nodes on the open Internet is much less than the number of humans, suddenly IPv4 limits are much less of a problem.