Major website crashes have been an issue recently, with eBay going down for several hours this week, after Facebook was offline for awhile last week. This has led to some reports that the Internet is getting "too full" and perhaps straining its limits. KTRH IT Director Richard Gerlovich says that is not the case. "The Internet running out of space is a false statement," he says. "I think they're throwing that in there to scare you."
While the Internet itself has infinite space, the machines that connect you to it do not, and that is where the problem lies. "Each person has a unique IP address when they connect to the Internet," says Gerlovich. The explosion of smartphones and tablets in recent years has begun to exhaust all of those IP addresses, and the older hardware that is trying to process them. "The amount of computers logging on at one time has increased, so the machines that handle the IP addresses are running out of capability to handle that many addresses," says Gerlovich.
This is a problem the tech world has seen coming for awhile, but hasn't fully prepared for. "People are upgrading anyway because we're about to go to a whole different addressing scheme that's going to add the capability of many more IP addresses," says Gerlovich. "Ebay and Amazon are probably going to be the first ones to completely upgrade their infrastructure." In the meantime, users may have to endure a few more unexpected outages and crashes while the web goes through its latest phase of growing pains.