The problem of IP address shortages as part of the existing IPv4 standard is about to get solved. There has been a limitation on how many IPs can be supported by the standard and going by the increasing number of devices, we’ll run out of IP addresses this year. IPv6 is here to provide a solution to this shortage. It requires the entire internet, which is a lot of connections, everything from devices to service providers to switch to the new standard. Starting from the 6th of June, which is roughly a week from now – there’s even an official launch site with a countdown to the deadline – all of the major companies such as Time Warner, AT&T, D-Link, Google, Cisco, Facebook, Bing and Yahoo! will be participating in the transition. 

The IPv6 launch site has a bunch of reactions from leading IT companies. “Last year’s industry-wide test of IPv6 successfully showed that the global adoption of IPv6 is the best way to keep web devices communicating in the future. Permanently enabling IPv6 is vital to keeping the Internet open and ensuring people stay connected online as the number of web users and devices continues to grow.”, said Jay Parikh, VP of Infrastructure Engineering at Facebook. 

IPv6 transition begins soon

IPv6 transition begins soon

Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google had this to say about IPv6 implementation. “World IPv6 Launch marks a watershed moment in Internet history. It breaks the limits of the original address space to open a vast new territory, trillions upon trillions of times larger, and reinforces the end-to-end architecture that made the Internet so powerful at the beginning. Google strongly supports this upgrade. We’re happy to see that everyone is moving to the 21st-century Internet!

On World IPv6 day which was held on the 8th of June 2011, internet companies indulged in a test – a technical exercise – to try their hands on their new address. A few popular services namely Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Akamai decided to test out IPv6 along with the Internet Society, an organization which handles internet standards. The exercise was done to eliminate any issues that might crop up during the worldwide transition to IPv6. IPv6 currently has provisions for about four billion IPs.

For those who’ve gotten enterprising and have jumped on to the IPv6 bandwagon, the regular URLs should be accessible, anyway. ISPs everywhere, running outdated hardware too will have to gear up to this impending change, and get in new hardware that would support the new addresses. Companies worldwide, especially Tata Communications, one of world’s largest Tier 1 transit providers are highly optimistic of the change. 

As far as the end user experience is concerned, there won’t be anything new with their internet connections. Existing IPv4 addresses were made up of a sequence of four sets of numbers. IPv6 will assign six sets of numbers to different PCs. The move will virtually provide a really large number of IP addresses, something that won’t be exhausted anytime soon. IPv4 was started some 20 years back. 

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