Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is a network layer protocol for packet-switched internetworks. It is designated as the successor of IPv4, the current version of the Internet Protocol, for general use on the Internet.The main improvement brought by IPv6 is a much larger address space that allows greater flexibility in assigning addresses. IPv6 is able to support 2128 (about 3.4×1038) addresses, or approximately 5×1028 addresses for each of the roughly 6.5 billion people alive today. It was not the intention of IPv6 designers, however, to give permanent unique addresses to every individual and every computer. Rather, the extended address length eliminates the need to use network address translation to avoid address exhaustion, and also simplifies aspects of address assignment and renumbering when changing providers.
Internet Service Providers urgently need to roll out the next generation of net addresses for online devices, internet pioneer Vint Cerf has said.
Every device that goes online is allocated a unique IP address but the pool of numbers is finite and due to run out around 2010.
A new system, called IPv6, has been awaiting roll out for 10 years.
Unless IPv6 is switched on in the coming years, some devices might not be able to go online, Mr Cerf has warned.
Mr Cerf, who played a key role in the development of the protocols which underpin the global net, said: “There is a risk of not being able to get online.”
He added: “The rate of consumption of available remaining IPv4 numbers appears to be on track to run out in 2010/11.”
Mr Cerf is about to step down as chairman of Icann, the body which oversees the net, and is also Google’s chief internet evangelist. Continue reading