Practical Technology

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IPv6 basics: Getting started with IPv6

Some people still think they don’t need to worry about the growing shortage of Internet IPv4 addresses and that they need to start thinking about how to migrate to IPv6. Oh boy are they ever wrong.

As I write this in late October 2010, the Internet is officially down to less than 5% of the possible IPv4 addresses. The bad news? It’s actually worse than that, according to the real-time IPv4 Address Report, we’re down to 4%. At this rate, local ISPs and businesses won’t be able to get new IP addresses after January 2012.

That doesn’t mean that Internet addresses won’t be available. They will be. But, as with good domain names, you can expect to start paying a pretty penny for your IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. This won’t matter so long as you or your business doesn’t expand or move, but when you do, as time goes on you can expect to pay progressively more for your new addresses.

When the Internet began, IPv4’s possible 32-bit 4.3 billion addresses looked like more than enough. We didn’t see mobile devices coming or predict that people would start carrying two or three IP devices — smartphone, laptop, tablet, MP3 player, etc. — at once. We could blame Vint Cerf for this vision failure, but it’s too late to play the blame game. It’s time to start working on the problem.

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