In case you didn’t know the Internet is about to run out of IP addresses. Or at least IP addresses using IPv4. After that addresses will have to be assigned using IPv6 which has considerably more possible addresses.
IPv6 has a total of 2128 possible addresses. For technical reasons – there’s always technical reasons – the first 1-byte of each address is reserved to differentiate it from IPv4 addresses. That leaves a total of 2120 addresses to work with.
That number is so insanely large that many people like to talk about what you could do with all those addresses. This guy shows that you could assign a unique address to every atom on the surface of the earth – one hundred times over.
That’s a bunch.
I love to mess around with things like this myself. And for the record, NO, I don’t have anything better to do with my frakking time.
I decided to figure out what 2120 devices would look like if all addresses were used up. Of course these devices would be everything from small embedded chips in your clothes to phones, to refrigerators to cars and so on. But lets just stick with one type of device – like a Nexus One – to make the math manageable. The Nexus One has a mass of 130 grams – 0.13 kilograms.
First lets convert 2120 to scientific notation.
2120 = 1.32 × 1036
Now we need to figure out the combined mass of all the phones
1.32 × 1036 × 0.13 = 1.73 × 1035 kilograms.
The mass of the sun is 1.98892 × 1030 kilograms.
The mass of our combined Nexus Ones would be equal to 86,881 solar masses.
The most massive star ever found is 265 solar masses. So our Nexus Ones would be 328 times larger than that.
If all of these hypothetical Nexus Ones were collected into one place they would form a Nexus Star that would rapidly collapse under their combined masses to begin fusion of the elements from which the phone is constructed – mostly carbon and silicon. It’s going to rapidly go through the end stages of stellar evolution fusing all those elements together until there it is mostly iron and in the process giving off an energy – lots of it. Once the core is mostly iron it will go supernova. Left behind would be a super massive blackhole.
So, using up all the IPv6 addresses would be the least of our worries.
Note: any mathematical errors are due solely to my lack of coffee this morning.