It’s time to prepare for IPv6

We made it through Y2K. The next hurdle is IPv6.

What is IPv6, you ask? It’s an updated method of allocating numbers, or “IP addresses” to computers (or “nodes”) on the Internet.  Most of us now use IPv4. The IPv4 numbering scheme uses a 32-bit number, which allows a maximum of 4,294,967,295 nodes (which is 232). When the IP protocol was developed in the 1970s, nobody could have predicted that the IP pool of over 4 billion addresses would ever be depleted . . . but in year 2010 we are now in sight of the bottom of that pool.

Expect to be affected by the transition to IPv6 in 2011 or 2012.

IPv6, which uses a 128 bit number, greatly extends the number of possible nodes . . . to 2128, which is a very large number indeed: it far exceeds the number of particles in the known universe. Most modern operating systems already include an IPv6 stack. Some newer routers include IPv6 capability; older routers don’t include IPv6 — so they will need to be replaced with new IPv6-compliant routers. A few older routers may be upgradeable to IPv6, but most probably won’t be. Network switches won’t be affected.

HeadzUp: Apparently there’s debate underway about whether a soft or hard transition to IPv6 makes sense. Expect to be affected by the transition sometime in 2011 or 2012 . . . and be sure that when you purchase new routers (and most other IP devices), that they include IPv6 capability.

Read Wikipedia’s IPv6 article. PC Magazine recently published an easy to understand article titled IPV4 to IPv6 IP Address Transition Becoming Critical.

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695



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