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Claranet - 4th February a Big Day for IPv6

Posted: 30th Jan, 2008 By: MarkJ
Every time you connect to the Internet an IP (Internet Protocol) address is assigned to you, which under current IPv4 standards typically takes the form of four number groupings (e.g. 123.23.56.98). This is your unique online identifier and allows you to communicate with Internet servers and services, such as e-mail or websites.

However you can only have so many billions of IPv4 address combinations before running out and the online population is fast outstripping the available number pool. Thankfully there has long been a solution, IPv6, which we explained back in October last year (here).

On 4th February 2008, IPv6 IP addresses can be directly translated into domain names and vice versa. This is one of the most important steps to date in the race for implementation of the new IPv6 protocol before the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, which are predicted to start running out in 2010.

From next Monday, Internet hosts will be able to find each other without using the old IPv4 protocol. This means that, for the first time, a user will be able to visit a website without having to use the old IPv4 Internet. Claranet is one of the few ISP's to provide IPv6 capabilities to its customers and has issued the following comment:

"Many ISPs haven't implemented IPv6 for a very simple reason - customers haven't asked for it yet," said Dave Freedman, Claranet's Group Network Manager. "It is only now, with IPv4 exhaustion just around the corner, that many organisations are beginning to take this issue seriously.

Internet address space will start running out in two years time unless ISPs adopt the new version of the Internet Protocol, IPv6, across their networks. Although modern computers, servers, routers and other online devices are able to use IPv6, many ISPs have yet to implement the system. Meanwhile, the UK Government is failing to take the lead in preparing the country for IPv4 address exhaustion.
"

The Internet won't cease to function once IPv4 addresses have run out but it will face performance problems, not least those that could stem from Internet users being required to share the use of a single address. By contrast IPv6 offers vastly increased IP address space, ease of administration and integrated encryption capability.
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