Next-generation Internet addresses tested

Journalists work on their laptop computers
Journalists work on their laptop computers in Beijing in March 2011. A worldwide test of the next generation of Internet addresses was underway on Wednesday to replace the dwindling reservoir of numbers in the original system.

A worldwide test was under way on Wednesday of the next generation of Internet addresses designed to replace the dwindling pool of 4.3 billion unique identifiers in the original system.

Hundreds of companies, organizations and institutions around the world are taking part in "World IPv6 Day," including Internet giants such as Facebook, , Microsoft and Yahoo!

Internet Protocol version 6 is the new system of unique identifying numbers for websites, computers and other Internet-connected gadgets and is replacing the original addressing system, , which is nearing exhaustion.

IPv6 provides more than four billion times more addresses than IPv4 -- more addresses, for example, than there are grains of sand on Earth.

The number of available IPv4 addresses will run out later this year and the transition to IPv6 is needed to keep pace with the explosive growth in Internet use.

US networking company Cisco forecast in a report released this month that the number of devices connected to the Internet will top more than 15 billion by the year 2015, more than double the world's population.

, for the most part, will be oblivious to the switch to IPv6 since an IP address such as 74.125.71.103, for example, will still appear in the address bar as google.com.

Google, which is enabling IPv6 on Google Search, Gmail, and other services, said "the vast majority (99.95 percent) of people will be able to access services without interruption" during the IPv6 test, which began at 0000 GMT Wednesday and is to last for 24 hours.

"Either they'll connect over IPv6, or their systems will successfully fall back to IPv4," Google network engineer Lorenzo Colitti said in a blog post.

Colitti estimated that 0.05 percent of systems may fail to fall back to IPv4, making Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Bing and other participating websites "slow or unresponsive."

Facebook network engineer Donn Lee said World IPv6 Day "will enable the industry to gain insights about potential IPv6 issues, find solutions, and accelerate global adoption of IPv6."

Lee estimated that 99.97 percent of Facebook users would not be affected by the test.

The change to IPv6 mainly impacts Internet service providers, websites and network operators who have to make sure their systems can handle the new online addresses and properly route traffic.

The non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which manages the technical architecture of the Web, doled out the last batches of IPv4 numbers in February.

ICANN has been calling for a switch to for years but many websites and Internet service providers have been clinging to the old standard.

Former ICANN chairman Vint Cerf, a Google vice president who is considered a "founding father" of the Internet, has said he and other engineers did not imagine there would be a need for more addresses when they created the IPv4 protocol in 1977.

"I thought it was an experiment and I thought that 4.3 billion would be enough to do an experiment," Cerf told the Sydney Morning Herald in an interview. "Who the hell knew how much address space we needed?"


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Jun 08, 2011
The internet was supposed to be a scale-free network because it doesn't necessarily require a central authority to hand out numbers and adresses.

What would happen if the ICANN and IANA were removed?


Jun 09, 2011
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Uhhhh.... what?

Jun 09, 2011
The internet was supposed to be a scale-free network because it doesn't necessarily require a central authority to hand out numbers and adresses.

What would happen if the ICANN and IANA were removed?


It is a scale free network, however, much like road systems, it requires an addressing scheme. The former addressing scheme was insufficient for the world at large. There was a lot of waste in the utilization, and without ICANN and IANA many people who have internet accessibility today, would still be waiting for a hookup to the network, which may or may not work once they got it.

Jun 09, 2011
I think the single biggest problem for people will be whether or not their home "modem" and router can handle the ipv6 standard. I have a 2-year old d-link that already has the standard implemented, just waiting for the changeover. Most devices only need a software update to support it, since it's purely a logic problem. It does provide companies that make home routers the opportunity to phase-out older routers, claiming they cannot be programmed to handle the traffic, but we're probably talking some pretty old routers. Otherwise, it would be a problem of company corruption, just trying to sell more newer routers.

Jun 09, 2011
I think the single biggest problem for people will be whether or not their home "modem" and router can handle the ipv6 standard. I have a 2-year old d-link that already has the standard implemented, just waiting for the changeover.
You'll be waiting a long time. The list of residential owners with a backbone address is currently zero. This will probably only be implemented on the largest of networks while IP6:4 routing will be used for endpoints.

Jun 09, 2011

It is a scale free network, however, much like road systems, it requires an addressing scheme. The former addressing scheme was insufficient for the world at large. There was a lot of waste in the utilization, and without ICANN and IANA many people who have internet accessibility today, would still be waiting for a hookup to the network, which may or may not work once they got it.


I believe ipv4 was implemented either knowing that something else would have to replace it eventually, or it suffered the same fate that the old RAM implementation faced with, "No one will ever need more than 640k of RAM..."

Jun 09, 2011
I believe ipv4 was implemented either knowing that something else would have to replace it eventually, or it suffered the same fate that the old RAM implementation faced with, "No one will ever need more than 640k of RAM..."
IPv4 was itself a replacement to IPX/SPX, as the addressing scheme needed a larger set of network matricies. Subnetting was the short term fix for IPv4 and now 6 is the new bane of network admins.

Jun 14, 2011
So, it's the natural progression of networking system technology...

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