IPv6 – Enabling the Internet’s Future Growth

by Elise Gerich on February 3, 2011

In 1995, on behalf of the IAB and IANA, I wrote a document called “Unique Addresses are Good” (RFC 1814). The Internet community had begun to worry about the depletion of the IPv4 address space at that time and the IAB and IANA started taking steps to slow the distribution of IPv4 addresses. One of those steps was to reserve certain addresses for private networks; networks whose numbers would never be seen or used by other networks. The premise was that the numbers could be reused by many private networks since those Internet numbers would never be visible outside of the private network. There was concern that by supporting the concept that an Internet address was no longer unique in the Internet system, chaos might ensue. The document explained the continuing benefits of using unique IP addresses and concluded by encouraging “any organization which anticipates having external connectivity [..] to apply for a globally unique IP address.”

The Internet has boomed in the intervening years and exceeded all our expectations. It now has a fundamental place in the economies of nations around the globe. The boom has gone so far that on February 3rd I allocated the last five blocks of IPv4 addresses from IANA’s central pool to the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). The RIRs will allocate those IPv4 addresses to the networks in their regions in the coming months and maybe years.

The Internet uses IP addresses for its infrastructure, for the content we access and for the connections of ordinary Internet users. Recent studies indicate that approximately 2 billion people around the world have access to the Internet. And many of those 2 billion people may use 2 or more devices (computers, mobile phones, cable modems) that require an Internet address to deliver the service they want. The few billion addresses in IPv4 are barely enough for the services offered to 2 billion people much less for a world with a population of almost 7 billion.

There will be a period of transition and it will take time for the primary IPv4 infrastructure of the Internet to be replaced by IPv6 infrastructure. That transition will happen though because using the Internet has become an economic driver in all parts of the world.

I want to repeat the call I made in 1995 today because unique addresses are still good. And I urge everyone who anticipates building new Internet services, equipment and connections to provide support for globally unique IPv6 addresses. Having the wealth of unique addresses that IPv6 offers removes constraints that were placed upon innovation by the restricted availability of essential Internet addresses. IPv6 will enable the Internet’s future growth and there will be new opportunities for those already using the Internet as well as for those who will soon begin using it.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Fleming 02.04.11 at 1:06 pm

“The document explained the continuing benefits of using unique IP addresses and concluded by encouraging “any organization which anticipates having external connectivity [..] to apply for a globally unique IP address.”

Did the document also explain that people would be paying million dollar salaries to Non-Profit CEOs and Staff in a Multi-Level-Marketing Pyramid Scheme ?

Why wouldn’t Address Space be FREE ? There are automated (and FAIR) ways to assign Address Space. Is FAIR a word in the IANA or ICANN dictionary ?

Have you researched or implemented extended addressing in IPv4 that accommodates more addresses WITHOUT changing the protocol and the header from 160 bits to 320 bits ? Why would people change protocols for unique addressing when IPv4 can support it ?

What is the Cost Benefit Analysis of moving to the Internet Society’s IETF’s IPv6 ? Is full employment really the goal ? How do all these Non-Profit Public Benefit companies pay people $500,000 when the rest of the world makes $50,000 ?

Jim Fleming 02.04.11 at 1:25 pm

“I want to repeat the call I made in 1995 today because unique addresses are still good.”

With all due respect, your 1995 (actually 1980s) DNS technology and IANA policies are very out-dated. The world has evolved. It is embarrassing to watch the videos that ICANN produces.

Service Based Architectures based on true Peer-to-Peer arrangements with DHTS – Distributed Hash Tables are now common. One major software vendor even has a FREE domain system based on Peer-to-Peer.

Peer-to-Peer is not The.Cloud. Peer-to-Peer leverages the low-cost computing power that now is deployed in almost every modern digital device. Low-cost and large-scale storage is also now the norm.

This is not 1995. Imposing your out-dated technology and policies is costing the world billions of dollars. Are you aware of that ? Are you concerned about that ?

History will show what ICANN has cost the world. Since 1998 very little has been accomplished. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

cleo 02.05.11 at 12:45 am

I couldn’t agree more. ICANN should be ashamed of themselves. All one has to do is take a look at the letter recently sent by the Free Speech Coalition to ICANN, GAC and the Dept. of Commerce: http://fscblogger.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/fsc-letter-to-icann-and-gac-1-28-11.pdf

I believe that this letter shows just how broken ICANN is.

Diablo 3 beta keys 02.09.11 at 1:47 pm

The IPcalypse is upon us. Everyone, run like hell.

Dashworlds 02.11.11 at 3:22 pm

It’s not just about IP numbers – it’s also about domain names and lack of choice.

With over 200 million domain names already registered (around 90 million of them dotcoms), trying to find a creative, unique, relevant and memorable address for less than a few million dollars is pretty much an impossible task.

Even if you manage to unearth something great and for a reasonable amount, ask the person next to you how many websites they can actually recall. The chances are maybe 5 or 10 (and that will include the likes of Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter). Things have to change to bring the Web back to a more level playing field.

Running alongside ICANN today, Dashworlds.com operates a parallel Internet using new Dashcom (not Dotcom) Domain Names. Dashcoms are brand new web addresses in the format http://business-com or http://stock-market (examples only). With users and members in over 90 countries worldwide, resolution is via an APP (although ISP links are now available to negate that need).

Not-so-long ago, people would have thought a retailer totally crazy to waste time and money trying to sell anything on the Internet. After all why would anyone want to buy a hugely expensive computer, get an extra phone line, buy a modem, buy an OS, learn how to use it all….Why?…when all you had to do was make a quick phone call.

Having just one Internet floating around infinite cyberspace is like saying you can go anywhere you like in America as long as you stick to route 66. So today, just as in the USA (and anywhere else in the world) the Internet has more than one road to travel.

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