The Internet Is Full... Go Away

Category: Networking

You probably know that every computer, router, smartphone, coffee maker, and other device connected to the Internet is assigned a unique IP address, such as 74.125.226.115, which is used to deliver data to it and identify the origin of data that it sends. Without an IP address, you can't get on the Internet. What you may not know is that the world is almost out of IP addresses...

Are You Ready For IPv6?

Yes, perhaps you've heard this alarm before. But this time it's really true. The last large blocks of IP addresses were allocated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) on February 1st, 2011. No need to worry, though.

You'll still get an IP address and everything will be fine, most likely. Your ISP (and your smartphone's data carrier) already has large blocks of IP addresses assigned to them, and will assign one to your device when needed. The problem is that the number of devices connected to the Internet cannot keep on growing once all the IP addresses are used up.

Your ISP, in order to add new customers like you, will need more IP addresses. New businesses, government agencies, and other large organizations need blocks of IP addresses. Fortunately, the uber-geeks who run the Internet are on top of the situation.
Ready for IPv6?

Currently, the Internet operates on Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), which can handle up to about 4.3 billion IP addresses. It is time for the entire Internet to switch over to IPv6, which supports enough IP addresses to give every person on Earth several billion IP addresses of his or her very own. There's more to like about IPv6, too.

Benefits of IPv6

Better security is built into IPv6, including IPSec encryption and authentication of every packet of data. That will make many of the techniques used by hackers and malware distributors obsolete. The speed, reliability, and consistency of the Internet will improve under IPv6 thanks to changes in the way data packets are formed and routed. Also, lollipops will grow on trees, and it will be sunny every day -- all because of IPv6.

You may be using IPv6 right now without even knowing it. IPv6 is backwards-compatible with IPv4 so the transition should be painless. Windows 7, Vista and Mac OS have support for IPv6 right out of the box. If you're running Windows XP, make sure you have the latest Service Pack (SP3) installed. Then open a command prompt, enter ipv6 and press Enter. If you get a message that IPv6 is not installed, type netsh int ipv6 install and press Enter.

If you have a high-speed internet connection, such as DSL, cable or fiber optic, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) probably supplied you with a router. Before moving customers to IPv6, it would be the ISP's job to make sure you have a router that's IPv6 ready. But if you purchased your own router, you'll need to double check that yourself. Your operating system and your ISP should handle the rest of the transition to IPv6 for you.

Major ISPs are already implementing IPv6. Small ISPs may lag behind due to a shortage of resources. You may want to ask (or nag) your ISP about its IPv6 implementation plans. To test your connection to see if you're running on IPv4 or IPv6, point your browser to IPv6-test.com and it will display which protocol you're using.

Do you have something to say about IPv6? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "The Internet Is Full... Go Away"

Posted by:

Tom Schulte
05 Feb 2011

I tried IPv6-test.com with Firefox v.3.6.13,on my iMac running snow lepard. The site suggests that I'm not running the most up to date version of Firefox (yes it is updated)


Posted by:

Diane
05 Feb 2011

I'm confused. Do I worry or not?

Please don't post my email address.


Posted by:

Mike
09 Feb 2011

I, too, ran the test out of curiosity and got the same response. It's telling me to update IE and/or Firefox. The only way to update either one further is to install beta versions which ain't gonna happen.


Posted by:

steven
06 Mar 2011

My computer windows XP-SP3 also failed all IPV6 tests, even through IPV6 is installed and working. That means Verizon's super speedy FIOS has failed or I did the test wrong.


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