717 and counting

IP (Version 4) is based on four octets (bytes) to create an addressing space af 2 to the 32nd power, but as it has been arranged in slices, the actual collection of available numbers is less than you would think. John Curran of ARIN earlier today at the W3C TPAC said that based on the current demands, IPv4 addresses will be completely exhaused in 717 days. (He pointed out that this number will vary from day to day for many reasons, and this variability is part of the reason why people are not taking the issue seriously.) When the space is exhaused, it will be impossible to add more servers or clients to the Internet.

The solution is IPv6, but uptake is around 2%, and it seems to be a non-trivial exercise to add IPv6 support to your Internet connection point. You need to arrange IPv6 support with your connectivity provider, you need to check that your software will work with the new networking protocol (including scripts that process data involving IP endpoints, such as logs of IP addresses connecting to your server). He also warned that changing to IPv6 could open holes in your firewall, and potentially other unanticipated problems.

It seems that we can’t avoid the transition to IPv6, and we only have about 2 years to get our act together. I think I’ll look into getting IPv6 into my own network and the one in the office.

717 days (give or take a fudge) and counting…

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