London, (Agencies): The internet will be running out of IP (Internet Protocol) addresses by Friday although the web will not come to a standstill. The old version 4 will be replaced by a new system, Internet Protocol version 6 or IPv6.

Each device connected to the net is assigned a number. But with millions of web enabled phones now online, the numbers are running out.

The system was set up in 1980s with a maximum of 4.1 billion addresses. It was supposed to never run out. The original creators of the web initially thought it would be used only for academic purposes.

IP addresses operate as phone numbers to ensure that surfers reach websites and e-mails and find their destination, according to a daily.

The authority that directs such addresses will distribute the last batches on Thursday.

"It will just be 'business as usual' if everyone gets their job done," said John Curran, chief executive of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, one of five regional groups that distribute such addresses. They look after US, Canada and the Caribbean.