The geekier folks like us have known that the number of IPV4 addresses would eventually run out as more devices became connected. The first alarm was sounded when broadband became mainstream and permanent internet connection became common. Easy work arounds quickly squelched the IP address “crisis” and the world continued normally without much fanfare. About a decade and a half later, we could actually be facing a problem.
The biggest problem could be in how this gets reported. We’re starting to see mainstream press making a big deal out of the shortage of IP addresses. There’s no need to panic. The fix of IPV6 has been with us for some time, and implementation should be transparent for most of us. That won’t stop every opportunist in the known universe from trying to capitalize on a crisis. Necessary changes and upgrades will be made, and a few fortunes could be made from them. Don’t be alarmed by investment “experts”, government and academic “technology advocates” clamoring for big spend to avert a looming crisis. They’re out to create a frenzy to make a buck. If you think IPV6 could be a good investment play, the usual cast of network equipment makers will likely benefit from the round of upgrades.
What should you do? If you’re not responsible for any network infrastructure, you need do nothing. Any changes when they are made will probably not even be noticeable to you as even new v6 addresses can be served through a proxy. If you have to buy a new router in the coming years, buying and IPV6 ready unit might make sense, but IPV4 units should continue working without any problem for some time. If your curious about the status of your network or connection, you can run a simple test here. If you are responsible for a network, PC World posted a good guide for planning your migration.
Quite a few of us remember the fear mongering surrounding the Y2K date roll over problem that was over played to sensational proportions. IT management recalls being forced to spend billions to remediate what was a non-problem in many cases. These memories may be contributing factors to the general apathy for implementing IPV6 to provide additional address space that Could turn into a real crisis.
The headline issue is address space: with its 32-bit field, there can be something over four billion IP addresses on the same network. At the time it was designed, that seemed like enough for everything you could ever want to do on a network. Now, even with various ways to reuse common addresses on subnets, it’s grossly inadequate. There are, after all, something like three billion mobile phones alone in use in the world.
So in 1996, a new version IPv6, was created. This has enough addresses for the entire universe; the idea was that as it got adopted, first in the backbones and then out to the edges of the network, enough IP nodes would move across to ease the address crunch and, in time, allow IPv4 to quietly fade away, like black and white television in the face of colour. (more…)
Sprint is readying their network for IPV6 ahead of the 2008 mandate. This could be just an intelligently forward looking component of a routine life cycle upgrade. They could be gearing up to take advantage of being ahead of the pack to secure more government contracts. It could also be preparation for the massive volumes of new wireless users.
Sprint is gearing up for deploying the next generation IPv6 (define) Internet protocol with new IPv6 services. The effort by the national carrier is being driven by a June 2008 US federal government mandate for IPv6.
Whether or not the government agencies will actually be running IPv6 by June of 2008 is an issue that is still not yet clear. All told, it could amount to billions of dollars of revenue for vendors in 2008 and beyond. (more…)