In the mid-1970s, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—or DARPA, as it’s more commonly known—was working on a research project that was a precursor and would eventually lead to the creation of the Internet Protocol (IP), specifically IPv4. Basically, IPs help relay information and make sure that information gets to where it needs to go, translating between various different systems so that all information has a standard and common language. Everything that has internet capabilities, as well as every website, has a unique IP address, which aids in the transmission of information.
Until recently, most everything that needed an IP address received an IPv4 address. However, in the last several years, implementation has begun on a new and updated IP version, called IPv6. Why should you care about IPv6? Here are three reasons:
- Privacy extensions. The way that IPv6 addresses are issued, devices will not have a singular IP address, as was the case with IPv4. Rather, issued addresses are more likely to cover various ranges, which means that any time you see an IPv6 address, you won’t know whether it’s a distinct device. In this way, IPv6 offers more privacy than its predecessor
- Support for new services. With the advent of IPv6, one of the biggest changes is the elimination of NAT (network address translation), peer-to-peer networks are easier to create and maintain. Even more connectivity for the internet. Additionally, services like Skype, Google Hangout—essentially substitutes for old methods of person-to-person communication—will become more robust.
- Shortage of space. Perhaps the most important reason, however, is that IPv4 space is rapidly running out, and in some locations, is already exhausted. The loss of new IPv4 addresses has been an encroaching problem for almost a decade. So much so, in fact, that in 2011, Microsoft paid $7.5 million in order to obtain just over 666,000 IPv4 addresses from a company during their bankruptcy liquidation. In early July of this year, North America officially ran out of new IPv4 addresses. Luckily, the IPv6 has over 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses, so hopefully we’ll be set for space for a while.
Along with some of the most recognizable names on the internet, IdeaScale is an early adopter of IPv6—in fact, we’re IPv6 by default! This means that we’ll never have to worry about the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, or of running out of space. Ah, worry-free internet, thank you for being a friend.