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What Is Your ISP Doing About IP-V6?


Posted by Non-Hamster on October 29th, 2009

I've been following this IP-V6 thing on and off for a few yeas now and today I saw an Interview of John Curran of the American Registry for Internet Numbers about IP-v6 on Supernova that brought the whole thing back to the front burner again.

First up, let me say that I am not a hamster, I'm not thinking that the internet is going to implode or something when the number of available IP-v4 addresses runs out.  However I am reasonably sure that of all people, this guy ought to know what he's talking about when he says that in about 700 days the number of available IP-v4 addresses is going to run out.

Yet as far as I can tell, only a relative few ISP's are doing anything about making the transition to IP-v6. I've contacted my own ISP and asked about this more than once in the last few years and every time I get the impression that the suits at the main office are paying more attention to the quality of their Black and Mild cigars than they are to the need for action on the IP-v6 issue.  Like I said, the net isn't going to blow up or stop working if they don't get with the program but what WILL happen is that the internet will continue to grow and those who end up stuck behind IP-v4 addresses will NOT be able to get to all of it.

Here's a basic picture.  IP-v4 is four numbers that can be from 0 to 255. You've no doubt seen them looking like this 173.202.19.208.  Because an IP-v4 address is basically a 32 bit number, there can only be 4,294,967,296 of those addresses.

The problem is that in roughly 700 days (that's just under two years), those numbers will all be assigned.  Yet the internet will continue to grow because there ARE ISP's, corporations and government entities around the world that are already set up for IP-v6.

IP-v6 has LOTS more possible addresses because it's a 128 bit number.  Try for yourself.  get out a calculator and enter 2 ^ 128 (two raised to the 128th power) and you'll get this answer: 3.4028236692093846346337460743177e+38.  (For those not familiar with scientific notation the "e+38" part of that means "move the decimal point 38 places to the right and fill in the spaces from the rightmost seven to the decimal point with zeros."

THAT will be enough addresses for anybody.

But only if ISP's get off their duffs and get moving.  For example my own ISP has no plans that I've been able to find out about to do anything at all about ip-v6, EVER.

How about you?  What is your ISP doing about IP-v6?

Technorati Tags: address space, addresses running out, ipv4, out of addresses, arin, ipv6

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