IPv6 migration is not just about giving in to scaremongers

ITP.net dissects the math, gets off the fence and takes a side in the protocol debate

Tags: IPv6
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IPv6 migration is not just about giving in to scaremongers The crunch may not yet be here, but late action on IPv6 could have unwelcome results, says Stephen McBride, editor, ITP.net.
By  Stephen McBride Published  May 8, 2014

IPv6 uses a formatted string of eight, seemingly hexadecimal (base 16) numbers and has a range of to FFFF.FFFF.FFFF.FFFF.FFFF.FFFF.FFFF.FFFF (this is only one possible formatting style for v6, but is most easily comparable with v4). This can be thought of as an eight-digit number with a base of 65,436. In this case BN gives (with definite help from a calculator, even if you are a savant) the following number: 3.4*1038. This is 34 with 37 zeros after it, or if you prefer a number you can speak aloud in everyday conversation, it is 340 undecillion. This is the maximum number of unique IPs that can be generated using the v6 system, with the public-use figure sitting at around 42 undecillion. 65,4368 can also be written as 2128, which is why IPv6 is referred to as a 128-bit system.

As an interesting exercise, I thought we should imagine that humankind one day solves the problem of interstellar travel and also comes up with some nifty planetary engineering methodologies so that we can place 10bn humans on a planet surrounding each of the stars in our universe (note "universe", not "galaxy"). That's 10bn people for every star in every galaxy.

Let's assume 1024 stars in the known universe, which is just one of the estimates on offer from cosmologists. And let's also assume that the Internet pervades this cosmological Diaspora. Under IPv6, each human could own 4,000 devices before our intergalactic government would have to step in and implement IPv7.

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