The disclosure was made by Li Kai, the director of IP team of the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
At a conference he said the changeover to IPv6 must come soon otherwise internet users in China would start to face problems getting online.
"We held seminars almost everywhere just want to tell operators to apply for the left IP addresses as soon as possible and also to prepare the new IP addresses from IPv6 for Internet users," Li said, according to state media.
Around 80 per cent of China’s IPv4 resources have now been taken up he said. Recently China’s IP allocation exceeded that of Japan, making it the second largest in the world behind the US.
He warned that China risked falling behind the United States, which already had a well developed IPv6 network. By contrast only Chinese educational establishments were using IPv6.
IPv4 was the first internet protocol to be widely deployed and uses 32 bit addresses, allowing over 4.2bn individual devices to get online.
This was thought to be plenty in the 1980s but with more and more devices becoming internet enabled the supply will certainly run out by 2010 and maybe sooner.
However Li’s estimate of the readiness of the West for IPv6 may be overstating the case.
Vint Cerf has warned that ISPs are failing in their duty to inform customers of the coming switchover.
“They are persisting in the ‘nobody is asking for this’ mentality," he told the Times.
"They are not valuing business continuity as they should. When they finally wake up, there is going to be a mad scramble for IPv6 and they won’t implement it properly.”
China running out of IP addresses
By Iain Thomson on Sep 25, 2008 9:20AM