Techie Buzz readers are probably already aware that we are running out of IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) addresses. An IP address is essential for uniquely identifying devices connected to the internet. The trouble is that the currently prevalent protocol (IPv4) only supports up to 232 addresses, which was thought to be enough back in the day. With the number of devices connected to the internet rapidly increasing, we are quickly nearing the exhaustion of the address pool.
A newer version of the protocol – IPv6, solves this problem, while introducing other significant benefits. IPv6 supports 2128 (about 3.4Ã—1038) addresses. Unfortunately, IPv6 protocol requires new hardware or updates to legacy hardware. However, users on IPv6 networks will still be able to access content on IPv4 networks. In spite of the repeated efforts, the adaption rate of IPv6 has been slow due to the financial investments required and general consumer apathy.
The Number Resource Organization (NRO) has announced that less than 5% of the addresses now remain unallocated. The good news is that IPv6 adoption increased this year by 70% compared to just 8% for IPv4. This indicates that IPv6 adoption is gaining momentum. On its part, the Indian government requires all telecom and ISPs are required to be IPv6-compliant by the end of next year, and wants to start using IPv6 by March, 2012. However, unless the ISPs get their act together, even this might turn out to be too little too late.