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I.P. Freely

I’ve heard about the next phase of the internet as such, but wasn’t sure was it was all about.

Whilst reading through some bloglines (GREAT new interface), I stumbled upon a Microsoft discussion site, and some articles about IPv6. We currently know, and use IPv4, with the old 255.255.255.255 addressing. And apparently there’s only 4.2 billion addresses.

With the massive wide-spread use of the internet, and future devices needing an IP address – such as mobile phones, hand-helds, X-Boxes, etc – there needs to be a plan to move into the next realm of the internet.

Sounds like the initial plan for IPv4 (back in the 1970s) was similar to Bill Gates famous “no-one will need more than 640 KB of RAM”…!

But – hopefully the new IPv6 will be adequate for a while – with about 340 gazillion addresses possible…>

The most obvious distinguishing feature of IPv6 is its use of much larger addresses. The size of an address in IPv6 is 128 bits, which is four times the larger than an IPv4 address. A 32-bit address space allows for 4,294,967,296 possible addresses.

A 128-bit address space allows for 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 possible addresses.

In the late 1970s when the IPv4 address space was designed, it was unimaginable that it could be exhausted. However, due to changes in technology and an allocation practice that did not anticipate the recent explosion of hosts on the Internet, the IPv4 address space was consumed to the point that by 1992 it was clear a replacement would be necessary.

With IPv6, it is even harder to conceive that the IPv6 address space will be consumed. To help put this number in perspective, a 128-bit address space provides 655,570,793,348,866,943,898,599 addresses for every square meter of the Earth’s surface.

Sounds like things will be OK for a while – until we have a Y10K problem… And I don’t think I’ll be around by then… 🙂

IPv6 is all integrated nicely into Windows Server 2003. Have a look here for more information (from Microsoft).

Also, the Introduction to IP Version 6.doc (Word Doc) contained some good information & discussion – but quickly went over my head !!

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