IPv4 is a 32bit Internet Protocol system which can hold only up to 4 billion addresses. The Internet agencies knew that 4billion addresses will short fall very soon, because of the massive avalanche of people getting online. Every mobile phone and some gadgets are getting online too in comparison of the computer systems around the world. So the IT industry started working on the newer version called IPv6 (IP version 6) since last 10 years.
Y2K was the biggest problem the computer industry was foreseeing before the start of this new millennium. The computer system was only able to store the last two digits of the year (1999 would be only represented by 99) and the fear was that when the clock will struck 00hours on 31st December 1999, all the computer systems will go back to the date of 1900 instead of 2000.
Now Internet and IT experts say that we are going to face a similar kind of critical problem in less than a year, when the current system of Internet Protocol will run out of addresses. Whenever you connect to an Internet, your computer or mobile or anything with which you are connecting to the Internet is giving a specific address which is unique worldwide, to identify your device. So the maximum users which can get online at the same time according to the current system IPv4 system is 4billion.
Experts have analyzed the growth rate of Internet usage and predicted that within less than 12 months time, over 4billion devices will come online. So on a massive scale, the overall structure of the Internet is going to take a turn. In next few months we might have to face slow Internet speed or total disconnection because of the new system being introduced. The worst problem would be that the basic users of Internet does not even know about the IPv6. They only know the current 192.168.1.1 type of system. Where as the new system is an alpha-numeric system of 128bit (e.g. 2001:db8:85a3::8a2e:370:7334). The backbone of Internet can be shifted easily because we have network experts which know the new system. But teaching the common layman user might take some time.
So I guess we are going to hit the bottom within year 2010 or the early 2011 thats why I called it the “IP Y2K11” problem.