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The Future Is Already Here – IPv6

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Posted on October 18th, 2013 by Robert Close in Tech

IPv6

Getting connected to the Web

Have you ever wondered how many different devices and servers are connected to the Internet every second? I was surprised to find out that now - in 2013 - almost 80 different products are connecting to the Internet every second. According to Cisco - this number will raise to 250 devices per second by 2020.

After the mass introduction of smartphones in the last 5 years, the tech industry is now coming up with a greater diversity of smart devices designed to be connected to the global network. Almost all TV makers have launched Smart TVs that allow you to Skype, watch YouTube videos, and what not. The next big thing is the wearable tech - Samsung and Sony have already introduced smart watches this year.

I can imagine that in 7 years almost all appliances will have the capability to connect to the Internet and make our lives easier. The number of devices that are predicted to be connected to the Internet by 2020 is close to 50 billion, and even 70 billion, according to some researchers.

iPv6

IPv4 is the most used Internet Protocol right now but soon we will have to shift to IPv6 simply because we will run out of unique addresses. Back in 1981, when IPv4 was introduced for the first time, no one could predict that we would ever run out of unique addresses. IPv4 uses only 32 bits to store the address information. This gave us 4 294 967 296 unique addresses which basically ran out in 2011. Thanks to changes in network designs and the use of Network Address Translation (NAT), we are still able to use IPv4 today.

By the early 90s, we were paying attention to the development of the Internet and technology in general, and realized that sooner or later we would need an Internet protocol that will not have the limitations of IPv4. And so the development of IPv6 began. The IPv6 Internet protocol was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and was commercially deployed in 2006.

Unlike the IPv4 Protocol that uses only 32 bits to store the address information, IPv6 uses 128 bits which provides 3.4×1038 possible addresses. There are 38 zeros in that number so we will not be running out of addresses any time soon.

The number of possible addresses is one of the most recognized advantages of IPv6. Unfortunately IPv4 and IPv6 are not designed to work together and this actually makes the transition to IPv6 much more complicated than expected. Although IPv6 is not very popular right now, most companies are trying to implement it in their systems and prepare for the future. For the first time ever, more than 2%of all the traffic that reached Google’s servers last month, was via IPv6. 

Also, IPv4 uses only 32 bits for the address and IPv6 uses 128 bits, so IETF designed a totally new packet format in order to minimize the size of the packet headers processed by the network equipment.

The WebSitePulse Monitoring Network and iPv6

Since 2010, we are able to use IPv6 from several of our locations. You can use our Chicago, Toronto, Munich and Brisbane locations to monitor your IPv6 assets. We have servers in more than 40 different data centers around the world and only 4 of them have introduced IPv6 right now. From this data it seems that only 10% of all hosting companies currently provide IPv6 but we expect more and more of them to implement it in the future. We are constantly expanding our monitoring network, and we hope to have at least another 6 monitoring locations supporting IPv6 by the end of 2014.

Robert Close

Never regrets a thing as it all happens for a reason. Could survive just fine on good food and good drinks. Loves swimming and scuba diving. Enjoys supporting and managing, hence his occupation as a support manager at WebSitePulse.

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