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Is IPv6 In Your Future? May 31, 2007

Posted by Maddog in Technology Issues.

Early last month, the Board of Trustees of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) issued a resolution that would strongly encourage the use of IPv6 addresses. The resolution would also effectively make it more difficult to obtain new addresses from the dwindling IPv4 address pool.

ARIN logoInternet Protocol version 6, or IPv6, is the new underlying data transport infrastructure for the Internet. The current protocol, known as IPv4, is over 30 years old and can only support around 4.3 billion addresses. Now while that may sound like a lot, it is not anywhere enough for the many new online devices (such as Internet-capable mobile phones and PDAs) and applications (such as IPTV or Internet television) that will be flooding the online world in the near future. The number of addresses supported by IPv6, on the other hand, is around 2 to the 128th power. That is an unimaginably huge number and more than enough to fuel the Internet for perhaps the next hundred years.

ARIN is responsible for allocating Internet Resources (particularly IP addresses) for the U.S., Canada, and some islands in the Caribbean and North Atlantic ocean. Its unanimously adopted resolution reads in part:

BE IT RESOLVED, that this Board of Trustees hereby advises the Internet community that migration to IPv6 numbering resources is necessary for any applications which require ongoing availability from ARIN of contiguous IP numbering resources; and,

BE IT ORDERED, that this Board of Trustees hereby directs ARIN staff to take any and all measures necessary to assure veracity of applications to ARIN for IPv4 numbering resources; and,

BE IT RESOLVED, that this Board of Trustees hereby requests the ARIN Advisory Council to consider Internet Numbering Resource Policy changes advisable to encourage migration to IPv6 numbering resources where possible.

IPv6 is coming, like it or not. Some service providers are already investigating how to use the possibilities presented by IPv6 for deploying new services. IPv6 has broadcast-like, end-to-end data transfer capabilities, which makes it suitable for mass delivery of new media services like video-on-demand, IPTV, VoIP, mobile internet, and more.

A lot of network hardware already supports IPv6 (most new routers do). The better operating systems like the different versions of BSD and Linux do too. Application and network infrastructure appliance vendors would do well to jump on the IPv6 bandwagon now. In fact, they should have done so yesterday.

As for us, I think it would be a good idea to learn as much as is practical for our use. Check out the links below for more information. Happy reading!

Some IPv6 resources:




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