Remember all the hype about December 31st 1999? Well it seems we have another similar situation brewing in the IP/Internet world and it’s called IPv6. I know, for most laymen that doesn’t mean a thing. It’s techie speak for a new version of IP addresses that our computers and data devices (smartphones) need in order to send information back and forth over the Internet. The problem seems to be that we’ve run out of the old version (IPv4) addresses that we’re using today. There were 4.3 BILLION addresses created using a 32 bit addressing scheme 30 odd years ago but we’ve used them all up according to IT World and the IANA (Internet Assigned Number Authority).
This is all a bit like running out of phone numbers and having to create a new dialling protocol using 15 digit dialling versus the current 10. Not to panic, remember the day when you made phone calls only having to dial 7 digits? Well this is a little easier because the carriers, ISP operators will do all the translation for the IP traffic and devices behind the scenes for us. We just have to hope that they’re working on it!!
But some of the greatest minds and companies like Google, Facebook and others are on it. There is a World IPv6 Test Day planned for June 8th 2011 where they are going to try out some of the new IPv6 128 bit addresses. The good news in all this is that when IPv6 is finally implemented it will created something like 4 Billion TIMES more IP addresses than IPv4 which should last us a heck of a long time.
Whatever you do, don’t go out and start stockpiling water and cans of tomato soup in your basement or taking out extra cash from the bank machine, it won’t help. Internet traffic will probably just slow down for a bit as new protocol is implemented and/or IP address translation takes affect.