Two big changes are in the cards for the Internet — one you will notice and one you probably will not.
On Feb. 3, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority — the address guru for the Internet — announced that the Web has officially run out of new Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
Addresses on the Internet are vital because they tell where on the Internet a device is located. So, for example, if you want to go to the Post-Gazette website, you need an IP address to connect to the PG servers.
All IP addresses are 32-bit numbers. Obviously you do not need to type in that address to get to the PG. Instead you type in the URL (e.g. www.tigerusenet.com), which is then converted to the IP address.
All possible combinations of a 32-bit number add up to about 4.3 billion possible addresses. But since the introduction of IPv4 in 1981, all possible addresses have been distributed for use.
How can this be with only 7 billion people on the planet? IP addresses are assigned to devices, not humans. If you have four devices in your home individually connecting to the Internet, you are using four IP addresses.
As the Internet of Things — appliances, phones, home security systems etc. — connected grows, the need for IP addresses also grows.
So what happens now?
Just because all the IP addresses have been given out, doesn’t mean they are all being used. In fact there are many IPs sitting idle.
The Internet Engineering Task Force recognized that addresses would run out, so in 1998 it published a new addressing scheme called IPv6. An IPv6 address contains eight groups of four hexadecimal (base 16) numbers separated by colons. This scheme astronomically increases the number of possible addresses. Instead of 4.3 billion addresses, IPv6 has 340 undecillion possible addresses. That is 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses. A common comparison is that if you think of all IPv4 addresses as the size of a golf ball, IPv6 would be the size of the sun.
The transition to IPv6 is under way and should be seamless to most users, although Web masters and device makers will have to adjust.
The second approaching change — the noticeable one — has to do with requests for more generic top-level domain name suffixes.
The Internet already has 21 generic top-level domains ending in well-know suffixes such as .com, .net, .gov, .edu, and others not so well known — .info, .asia, .mobi and .tel.
In 2008, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decided to expand domain suffixes. Controlling a domain suffix can be lucrative and deciding what will be added and who gets control could be an ICANN of worms.
Possibilities are endless and could include .eco, .sport, .art or more controversial ones such as .god, .gay or .abortion. ICANN must decide whether to allow suffixes and who should control them.
An earlier proposal to create a .xxx suffix to identify pornographic content was opposed by the porn industry and never went through.
If you think you might like a domain suffix of your own, be ready to shell out. There is a fee of $185,000 to apply plus an annual fee to ICANN of $25,000.
In addition to top-level domains, the Internet has hundreds of country code top-level domains, such as .de for Germany or .cn for China. These suffixes can be very profitable. In 2000, the South Pacific government of Tuvalu negotiated a 12-year contract worth $50 million for selling use of its domain name .tv.
Security tip: When entering sensitive material on the Web, such as banking information, credit card numbers, etc., you want to make sure that your request to that site and information returned is encrypted.
To check, look in the address bar of your browser at the URL. It should begin with https, the secure form of http.
It’s possible the Web site itself won’t be https but the page presented for entering credit card information should be.
Before you enter critical information on the Web, check for https in the URL. If you don’t see it, think twice about going ahead.
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, the body in charge of regulating electronic media, has decided to allow telecom companies to meter the billing for Internet usage. This means capped downloads from Usenet Newsgroups.
This means that service providers such as Bell Canada will be able to charge per byte in addition to their basic access charges.
Some smaller service providers, who use Bell Canada’s infrastructure, said what Bell Canada is charging for overages is well beyond, even many times more, what it really costs to provide the extra bytes to customers.
They say they don’t want to be forced to bill their own customers on a metered basis, but will have to because they will be subject to Bell Canada’s requirements.
“Allowing the Internet service providers to ding you every time you download is a rip-off,” reports one newsgroup post on a Canadian ISP newsgroup.
“Canada is already falling behind other countries in terms of choice, accessibility and pricing for the Internet. We need clear rules that put consumers first.”
So far, thousands of people have signed an online petition called Stop The Meter.
The CRTC still has to make a final decision on the plan.
More Brits will be in reach of faster Usenet connections with 100Mbps broadband after Virgin Media announced plans to extend the area in which its superfast service is available.
Five towns and villages in parts of Hertfordshire, Merseyside and Wales have been added to the list of locations due to gain access to Virgin Media’s superfast broadband service. Up to 150,000 additional homes in Cheshunt, Hatfield, Pentwyn, Southport and Treforest will have access to the service, which provides internet speeds nearly 20 times the national average.
The localities join the 200,000 homes that can already gain access to Virgin Media’s fastest broadband service. The greater bandwidth afforded by the 100Mb service also means multiple users going online at the same time in a household should experience a hassle-free connection to Usenet newsgroups.
Commenting on the news, Virgin Media’s Jon James said: “We’ve invested many billions of private money in order to build a growing network that already passes approximately 13 million homes across the UK. We’re racing to get these ultrafast speeds across this entire area as fast as we can to meet demand”.
It does come at a price though. To buy the internet package alone would cost a user £45 per month. Although the cost drops to £35 if taken along with a phone line, customers would also have to pay up £30 for activation and £40 for installation.
At least a combined modem and wireless N router comes as part of the deal, which Virgin Media claimed had been designed to handle up to 400Mbps broadband as the technology continued to develop and roll-out.
A recent upgrade to the TigerUsenet servers has now allowed us to offer all of our customers a tremendous increase in retention to 810 days for all binaries.
The increase in retention is yet another featured upgrade to the many that have been recently announced by TigerUsenet.com.
The increase in binary retention to 810 days will allow users to access articles that had been posted to newsgroups well over 2 years ago! The binary retention upgrade to 810 is automatically available to all members and comes at no additional costs.
TigerUsenet.com is proud to be able to offer its customers this upgrade and will continue to provide the same level of premium Usenet newsgroup access that is come to be expected as a leading Usenet access provider.