If you're reading this, you must be online, and if you're online, let us say 'Welcome to a larger Internet.' Today kicks off the World IPv6 Launch event organized by the Internet Society and intended to bring major internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world together to enable and embrace the IPv6 protocol for their products and services.
Bookseller Borders was unable to survive the crushing onslaught from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, eventually leading to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing earlier this year. As the shell of a company continues to sell assets to pay creditors, it’s started scraping the bottom of the barrel. Borders has agreed to sell off its last significant asset; 65,536 IPv4 addresses. Software vendor Cerner will pick them up for $12 each.
You know that bug-eyed guy on that stands on the corner by your favorite pizza joint? Yeah, the crazy dude who goes on about alien abductions being an accidental side effect of the JFK consipracy. Turns out he was right! No, not about ET; about the Internet. Earlier this year, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority actually ran out of IPv4 Internet addresses. Don't worry though, the Web's not going to disappear into a black hole. Tomorrow, over 400 organizations are banding together for what they're calling "World IPv6 Day," the first large-scale trial run of IPv4's successor.
As the number of remaining iPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) addresses continues to dwindle, Microsoft went on a buying spree of sorts. The world's largest software maker agreed to pay a tidy sum of $7.5 million to Canadian communication equipment manufacturer Nortel in exchange for 666,624 iPv4 addresses at $11.25 a pop.
Back in January of this year, the number of available IPv4 addressed fell below 10 percent, and if you thought we still had plenty of time to transition to IPv6, think again. The Number Resource Organization is now saying that less than five percent of the world's IPv4 addresses remain unallocated.
"This is a major milestone in the life of the Internet, and means that allocation of the last blocks of IPv4 to the RIRs is imminent," states Axel Pawlik, Chairman of the Number Resource Organization (NRO), the official representative of the five RIRs. "It is critical that all Internet stakeholders take definitive action now to ensure the timely adoption of IPv6."
IPv4 has proved popular in part because a single address can be shared by multiple computers by using a technique called network address translation (NAT). NAT has its limits, however, while IPv6 offers an almost infinite number of addresses and a better renumbering scheme.
According to several people in the know, the Internet will run out of new IPv4 address space in less than a year. As more internet enabled devices flood the market place, we're moving inexorably towards the day when the new IPv6 standard will have to save the day. But will we be ready?
IPv4 addresses are limited to 32-bit numbers, thus about 4 billion unique addresses exist. The IPv6 standard uses 128-bit numbers. So that works out to a few quintillion addresses. That should certainly be enough to tide us over until we entrust our network infrastructure to the loving embrace of Skynet. Most of the hard work to get ready for the changeover needs to be done by ISPs, which need to deliver addresses as IPv6.
Large content providers like Google and Facebook aren't just sitting back though. They will need to work with ISPs to ensure their content is implemented as IPv6. Do you foresee any issues with the IPv6 transition?
He fears that this will considerably hamper the connectivity of the internet. He has suggested that internet be urgently switched to a new system. That new system is already in use in Japan for linking thousands of earthquake sensors and has been around for almost a decade. The IPv6 as it is called can provide an inexhaustible 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses.