I was surprised today when I read on BBC that Europe had begun rationing their remaining 16 million IPv4 addresses. What surprised me was not that we were finally running out, but the fact that I had scanned all the major U.S. headlines today and I didn’t see a peep about it.
The beginning of the end started for real in February of 2011 when IANA issued the final pool of 16 million IPv4 addresses. And, now Europe is dipping into the final bucket.
Well this is a heads-up to all my IT friends since it will eventually affect anyone who works with computers. Internet Protocol is how computers direct traffic to each other both inside the firewall, within your home and out on the public internet. If you haven’t seen an IPv6 address before it looks like this: 1001:0cb9:66b3:0042:1234:8a2e:2851:7334. It’s quite a bit harder to type than IPv4 addresses which look like 192.168.0.1. But…IPv4 allowed for only 4,294,967,296 addresses, which in today’s terms seems quite small for some reason.
So what does all this mean? As of today, it’s not real clear how much of the public, world wide web will work properly using IPv6 TCP/IP requests. There have been reports of major companies enabling IPv6 and there have been some international efforts to promote awareness and cooperation to upgrade. My guess is that for some period of time both IPv4 and IPv6 will have to live side-by-side until the vast majority of routers, phones, computers and servers get upgraded.
One thing is clear that the faster systems get upgraded the smoother the transition will occur.