IPv6: the future of the internet is here!

Thu 7 June 2012 13:00, Tamara Yadvichuk

IPv6: the future of the internet is here!

On Wednesday, June 6th. the world wide web went through an important change unnoticed by most users. Major companies such as Google, Facebook, Bing and Yahoo! last night enabled IPv6 – the system which is meant to prevent the internet from running out of IP addresses.

The thing with IP addresses, or sequences of numbers assigned to devices in order for them to connect to the internet, is that their amount is limited. Currently used IPv4 allows for slightly more than 4 billion unique IP addresses, which seemed like a large enough number back in the early days of the internet, but soon turned out to be insufficient. In fact, last year the free pool of available IP addresses was fully depleted, making the new system vital for the internet to continue growing.

The new standard, IPv6, should allow the existence of 3.4×1038 unique IP addresses which, according to Wikipedia, should be enough for the foreseeable future.

To encourage website owners and networks to enable IPv6, Internet Society organized the World IPv6 Launch Day event joined by Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Yandex, Mail.ru, Vkontakte, The Pirate Bay and many more. These sites will be running parallel IPv4 and IPv6 versions to ensure a smooth transition from the old to the new system. As all new devices should be using IPv6 by default, in next few years all of us will switch from IP addresses that look like this:

216.239.51.99

… to something like this:

fe80::202:b3ff:fe1e:8329

Google, for example, started thinking about the IP address problem a long time ago – in January they even published this test page which lets you check whether you are ready for the future of the Internet.

So, prepare for the future – and enjoy watching the video in which Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google and a founding father of the Internet, talks about IPv6!

 


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