- The first big steps on the road to overhauling the net's core addressing system have been taken.
On Monday the master address books for the net are being updated to include records prepared in a new format known as IP version 6.
Widespread use of this format will end the shortage of addresses that sites can be given.
The net's current addressing scheme is expected to exhaust the pool of unallocated addresses by 2011.
Although people use words to navigate around the web, computers use numbers. A human may type news.bbc.co.uk into a browser bar but the PC trying to reach that site will use a numerical equivalent that it gets from the net's master address books.
At the moment the vast majority of numerical net addresses are written in a format specified by version 4 of the Internet Protocol (IPv4).
On 4 February the master or root servers for the net will have a small number of records added that are written in IP version 6 (IPv6) added to them.
This means for the first time that computers using IPv6, typically a PC and a server, can find each other without involving any IPv4 technology.
Paul Twomey, president of Icann which oversees the addressing system, told the BBC News website there was a need...