The time has come. And though not improbable, but certainly it’s unexpected that the casting pool of IPv4 addresses have dried up.
What is IPv4? And, why the crisis? — IPv4 Crisis
IPv4 is a version of the unique address used to identify a computer (or any device) connected to the internet. And the fact that it is running out means it will be difficult to get to more devices connected to the internet.
ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) announced on July 1 that it has to activate an “unmet requests” policy and new services who want blocks of IP addresses for their services are put on the wait-list.
This is the first time such a wait list is implemented since the internet became public.
It’s not like the situation came all of a sudden. In 2011, IPv4 which with its 32-bit length had its 4.3 billion available addresses depleted at the top level and officially ran out in United States in 2014.
IPv6 to the Rescue
Now businesses are forced to switch to latest version of internet addressing, the IPv6. Microsoft IPv4 allocations for its Azure customers had dried up quite abruptly and they were forced to migrate.
IPv6 was invented in 1998 and features much longer addresses with 128-bit length. It has an estimated pool of 340 trillion trillion addresses, and thus provides a very long term solution.
IPv6’s adoption has been very slow and it wasn’t able to reach any kind of critical mass before IPv4’s pool ran out. Now IPv6 is the only solution for IPv4’s woes. This is inevitable as there is also no other option in this matter.
The rate of adoption of IPv6 is also improving. Google tracks IPv6 across all its users and has concluded that there is 5% increase of IPv6 protocol in the past 2 years. Previously it was just 2% of all the Google users.
As the address pools of IPv4 around the world are ending the uptake of IPv6 should accelerate. The thing is that though this “IP apocalypse” was “prophesized” about a decade ago we aren’t anywhere near to a solution.
Just goes to show you: “humans have a remarkable potential to adapt and a humiliating capability to change!”