When the Internet Runs Out of Addresses!

July 30th, 2012

With the Internet Protocol version 6 just newly being launched and poised to succeed IPv4 do you know what it will mean to your organization?

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing.

Whether you realize it or not, every device in the world that connects directly to the internet must receive an address that identifies it to the rest of the internet community.  Many people may recognize numbers that look like “123.456.321.987” which are numbers that come from the current IPv4.  Based on 32-bit addresses there are about 4.2 billion available addresses which are about to be all assigned.  The new IPv6 will have about 3.4 x 1038 new addresses for internet capable devices.

So aside from the increased pool of new addresses, how will this change be different than what is being used today and how will it affect your business.  In today’s blog we will be looking at some of those differences.

Software  – The majority of what will change with IPv6 will be software or firmware related.  For most people the affect will be almost seamless as home use devices care only about the end result being returned and will not care how it gets there.  All major operating systems are currently designed to support the new protocol so if you are merely requesting data the affect will be meaningless, however if you have an online website that your customers access you will need to make sure that the both protocols are supported by your tools and applications.  The transition does not need to occur overnight but it should begin being planned now to ensure you do not lose any customer connectivity.

Hardware – As stated the majority of what will be affected is software or firmware (the software contained on a hardware device).  The only concern with hardware will be with equipment that is incapable of being upgraded with firmware in order to support the new protocol.  Routers will be the biggest area of concern here.  Generally if the equipment is less than 6-7 years old there will be no issue as virtually all of the equipment in that group will be IPv6 compatible.  If it can’t be upgraded then much of that equipment is likely about to become obsolete for other reasons and should probably be replaced. 

Current Use – Despite the fact that the IT industry has begun to make a huge push and launch announcement in June, the beginning of deployment has actually been in the works for a few years now with the first major use of the protocol in a world arena coming in the 2008 Summer Olympics.  It was the largest use of the technology since its inception.  All major operating systems, many business and commercial environments and almost all mobile technology manufacturers are now supporting the IPv6 as well.

For more information about how SafeSourcing can assist with connecting you with companies who can help validate your IPv6 strategy, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

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