In 1977, the number 4.3 billion looked big enough to Internet pioneer Vint Cerf. It was Cerf who decided to create IP addresses that were 32 bits in length, which meant that only 4.3 billion addresses would be available.
Today, that fateful decision has created an impasse on the Internet. Thanks to new computers, servers and mobile devices coming online every day around the world, the Internet is about to run out of IP addresses. Some news outlets are, of course, greeting this news with doomsday predictions.
But have no fear. These “old” IP addresses, created under a protocol called IPv4, are being replaced by IPv6. The new protocol uses four 32-bit numbers, for 128 bits in total. Under this scheme, IP addresses would seemingly never run out, since there will be 340 undecillion of them. (Fun fact: there are 39 digits in the number 340 undecillion.)
Deployment of IPv6 is still in its infancy, and it will take several years before a majority of traffic is taking place on the upgraded network. The IPV6Forum was founded way back in 1999 to drive worldwide implementation. Yet as of the end of 2010, only about 5 percent of network addresses had moved to the IPv6 standard.
Over time, however, the entire Internet eventually will be upgraded to IPv6. This includes home equipment such as gateways, gaming systems and smartphones. At the office, phone systems, servers and more will need to comply with the new standard. Most of these changes, however, can be made gradually as electronics wear out and need to be replaced. A slow transition should be fine in most cases.
In the unified communications industry, most equipment (including all equipment offered by Xtelesis) is already IPv6 compatible. And over time, you will see better performance as devices move to the IPv6 standard. With so many IP addresses available, each piece of personal and business equipment can be assigned its own number. This means better and easier communication between devices, and without going through a network. Speaking of networks, they should become easier to manage as well, and peer-to-peer communications will improve.
Faster. Cheaper. Better. And for UC customers, a smooth transition.