India needs to switch to next-gen Internet by end of year to avoid running out of IP addresses

India, a country of 1,210 million people, has only 18.5 million IP addresses that it can use, the IT and telecom secretary R Chandrasekhar warned today — the World IPv6 days.

Chandrasekhar pointed out that the country — which already has more than 11 million broadband users (estimated to consume around 7-8 million IP addresses) — must meet its deadline to move to IPv6 by December.

IP or Internet Protocol refers to the standard or protocol by which different computers and devices on the Internet are assigned different identifying numbers or addresses. IP addresses, which look like ‘’ are then converted into a easy to remember format such as ‘’ or ‘’

As more and more Indians start using the Internet, more and more of these ‘IP addresses’ gets taken up — resulting in a situation of new customers not being able to connect to the Internet at all due to the lack of ‘space’ on the addressing system.

Technically, however, the current version of IP can support upto 4.3 billion unique devices, but most of the addresses are already taken up by more advanced countries where even home appliances such as refrigerators are getting their own IP address. There are around 6 billion humans on the earth.

According to the Government of India’s IPv6 policy announced last year, all major Internet and telecom service providers have to offer IPv6 services by December this year.

“We are very hopeful that we will meet the deadline,” said Chandrasekhar, pointing out that the Department of Telecom is already working closely with internet service providers to make sure everyone supports the new protocol by the year end. Both protocols can function side by side.