IP addresses are due to run out in around 2010, and according to internet pioneer Vint Cerf, companies need to develop the next set. A new system, called IPv6, has been awaiting roll out for 10 years.
The current system, called IPv4 provides four billion addresses but the explosion in the number of devices which go online has led to the potential shortage. IPv6 will create 340 trillion trillion trillion separate addresses, enough to satisfy demand for decades to come. One complicating factor is that IPv6 and IPv4 are not compatible so ISPs will have to run the two systems in parallel – adding to costs.