When the Internet launched operationally in 1983, no one ever dreamed that there might be billions of devices and users trying to get online. But like a telephone network that is running out of phone numbers, the current Internet is running out of IP addresses, and if we don't roll out Internet Protocol v6 (IPv6), we won't have the room we need to grow and the Internet would become tangled, unsafe and unsustainable.
This week, a new global project was launched by the Internet Society. The Internet Society are behind a lot of things on the Internet, among them the work done in the Internet Engineering Task Force. Last year, they announced the World IPv6 Day and got a lot of web site owners involved in one day of testing dual stack on their web servers. This year, web site owners will launch dual stacks on their web servers June 6th – and keep it active
IPv6 is the new net address system that replaces the current protocol IPv4, which is about to run out of spaces to allocate. Web companies participating in the event have pledged to enable IPv6 on their main websites from that date. The Internet Society, which made the announcement, said the day represented "a major milestone" in the deployment of the standard.
Facebook, Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo are the inaugural web firms involved.
Every device connected to the internet is assigned an internet protocol (IP) address, which is a string of numbers that allows other devices to recognise where data comes from or should be sent to. The IPv4 system has approximately four billion IP addresses. The growth in the number of smartphones, PCs and other web devices and services meant that net regulator Icann had already handed out its last IPv4 sets to regional registries. At the time it said businesses needed to start preparing themselves for a switch to the IPv6 standard, which offers more than 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses.
Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, and a founding father of the Internet, discusses the next version of the Internet, IPv6, and why we need it.