340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 new web addresses created by internet chiefs

TO THE lay observer it seems like an infinite network of computers, servers and cables stretching around the globe.

But the worldwide web is filling up. So quickly, it turns out, that programmers have had to devise a new one.

Of the internet addresses available, more than three quarters are already in use, and the remainder are expected to be assigned by 2009. So, what will happen as more people in developing countries come online? The answer is IPv6, a new internet protocol that has more spaces than the old one: 340,282,366,920,938,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000 spaces, in fact. ”œCurrently there’s four billion addresses available and there are six billion humans on Earth, so there’s obviously an issue there,” said David Kessens, chairman of the IPv6 working group at RIPE, one of five regional internet registries in charge of rolling it out.

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  • With World IPv6 Launch, IPv6 on by default will be the new normal

    Some “technologies of the future” stubbornly remain in the future and resist becoming technologies of the present. Case in point: fusion energy. For a long time, IPv6 seemed to fall into that category. But now, could it finally be for real? Anyone who missed the memo: current IP addresses are 32 bits long and are running out. IPv6 fixes this with addresses that are 128 bits long. But this only works when you actually run IPv6. Last year, some big players did exactly that for one day as a test. This year, the idea is to leave it on.

    I’m at the 83rd IETF meeting in Paris this week (the same Internet Engineering Task Force that created IPv6 in the first place in the 1990s). I went to my first IETF meeting in 2002. Back then there was a lot of IPv6 work going on, although there was plenty of IPv6 skepticism heard in the hallways. A decade later, IPv6 is a given. Only when I try to check Dutch news sites to see if we still have a government do I notice that I’m on the IPv6-only WiFi network. All the IETF-related pages and tools are available over IPv6 as a matter of course. That isn’t to say no IPv6-related work is going on, but that work happens in maintenance and operations working groups. In fact, the IETF leadership is now thinking about chartering a “v4exit” working group to focus on an orderly shutdown of the old IPv4 protocol.

    In the meantime, World IPv6 Launch looms large. It’s coming to a worldwide computer network near you on June 6. Last year, Akamai was one of the prominent participants in World IPv6 Day, which failed to kill the Internet last year. There was some more work to be done, however. Akamai explained to Network World that, as of April, the content delivery network is finally ready for IPv6.

    Cisco and the Internet Society (ISOC) used the Paris meeting for a near-impromptu lunch get-together, talking about what some of the big World IPv6 Launch participants are doing. ISOC’s Phil Roberts, moderator of the panel, kicked things off by saying that “IPv6 ‘on by default’ is the new normal.”

  • UK government condemned on net address shift

    BBC, December 7

    A body set up to get the UK moving to the net’s new addressing system has been shut down in protest at official indifference to its work.

    6UK was set up to advise ISPs and firms about the move from version 4 of the addressing scheme to version 6.

    But 6UK has been wound up after its board realised its work was futile without official backing.

    The indifference means the UK is among the nations that have done the least to move to V6, it said.

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