The Future of Internet Protocol

March 21, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Hello again! This is your friendly Tech Guy, Kyle Brocious, here.

Internet Protocol and its evolution

Today I would like to talk about a subject that many of us probably have not started to think about. That subject is on Internet Protocol and its evolution. As many IT people will know the current Internet Protocol known as IPv4 has been around for almost 25 years. You know the ins and the outs of how it works and its limitations, however, for those of you that are not of the IT world (don’t be ashamed, there are many like you) in a nut shell, it is the basis to which the internet works. Every address you type into your web browser has an IPv4 address. Let me break this down just a little more. When someone types in they are in fact typing in Go ahead try it out. You can copy and paste the numbers or type it in, and it will lead you right to our site. Now isn’t that cool?

By 2010 the face of the internet will have to change

Now what only a handful of people have started to contemplate is how much longer these IPv4 address will be around. Just think about it. There are only so many combination’s of numbers that can be used when putting in that format. Some Estimates say that by 2012, 17 billion devices will be online, that is accounting cell phones, laptops, computers, PDA’s, music players and a slew of other gadgets. Looking at it from that angle, there is only one third of IPv4 addresses left.

Now before you may start to worry about the internet crashing, back in 1990 the IT world banned together and started to think of a solution on how to fix this rising shortage of internet addresses. After tossing around some ideas the concept of IPv6 was born. This idea was the basis of many studies and is the future of the internet.

When migrating to IPv6 the address size jumps dramatically from 32-bit with IPv4 to 128-bit with IPv6, which would allow about 18 quintillion people their own set of 18 quintillion addresses (3.4e38 total addresses). With that many addresses I do not see any issues with running out for a long, long time.

But the drawback of the large address size is that IPv6 carries some bandwidth overhead over IPv4, which may hurt regions where bandwidth is limited. This is where header compression can sometimes be used to alleviate this problem. And IPv6 addresses are also very difficult to remember, but it is possible to use of the Domain Name System (DNS) if necessary.

However, migration has proved to be a challenge in itself. The reason being is not all of the networking equipment in the world is IPv6 compatible. Now it may be possible for some of the VoIP equipment to get a firmware update to which will make it work, but that will only work for about 15 to 25 percent of network equipment around the world.

So what I ask of you is to start to think about what will be needed for this migration, the implementation, and monetary cost of the expansion. It is not a matter of If at this point, but a matter of when. My personal estimate will be that by 2010 the face of the internet will have to change, and with this change will be many companies and individuals purchasing IPv6 compliant equipment. Supply and demand law says that the higher the demand the higher the cost, so it may be a wise choice to start looking into what you will need to make this possible.


  • Jeff

    Oops. is your private address. It won’t work for the rest of the world.

    You wanted people to visit

  • Kyle

    Sorry for that mistake.

    You are correct Jeff.

    Thank you.

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