Transitioning From IPv4 To IPv6

Posted Feb 3, 2011

The Internet Protocol version 4 is close to becoming obsolete. A pool of over 4 billion Internet address has been emptied yesterday morning so now we are moving to the Internet Protocol version 6. This is not a huge problem for average consumers, but businesses with a lot of servers will have to make some adjustments.

“This is the first definitive sign we are going to have a completion of IPv4. We’ve run out of the pool at the central level,” stated American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) CEO John Curran. “It doesn’t mean there are no IPv4 addresses available. This is not the absolute end, but this is the definitive point where people know that we are indeed going to run out of IPv4 addresses and that they need to begin the planning for how to operate their businesses without receiving additional IPv4 addresses.”

An IP address is a number associated with a computer on the Internet. Data packets are sent across the Internet using the IP address. IPv4 addresses use 32-bit numbers and has a combination of 4.3 billion addresses. IPv6 are 128-bit numbers and there will be a combination of 340 undecillion.

There are two major problems with the switch. The first problem is that an IPv4 IP address cannot access easily access a network that has an IPv6 IP address. The second problem is that people may be discouraged from upgrading to IPv6 technology since not a lot of people are using it yet.

Vint Cerf, one of the founders of the Internet and currently an evangelist at Google was interviewed about the problem earlier this year. “Who the hell knew how much address space we needed?” said Cerf.