Just a few short years ago any home user that wanted more that 32 bits of addressable memory would have been laughed at as there were no applications outside of a server room that would ever want that much memory.  How wrong we were, now 6GB kits of DDR3 are quite common and sometimes even reasonably priced. 

Unfortunately it is the same for internet protocol addresses as has been mentioned for quite some time.  In the past seven years we have seen the amount of required external IP addresses multiply 600 fold, and the hard limit of maximum addresses with only four triplets of numbers ranging from 0 – 255 is fast approaching, especially as some address blocks are reserved or slapped into black holes.  That is why IPv6 was created and why network owners have been trying to get the world to switch for quite some time. 

We didn’t, and Ars Technica explains why this is not a good thing at all, IPv4 has given users and admins so many ingrained assumptions about the way IP works that the change to IPv6 is not going to go smoothly without a big change of mindset and some serious effort.

“Twenty years ago, the fastest Internet backbone links were 1.5Mbps. Today we argue whether that’s a fast enough minimum to connect home users. In 1993, 1.3 million machines were connected to the Internet. By this past summer, that number had risen to 769 million? and this only counts systems that have DNS names. The notion of a computer that is not connected to the Internet is patently absurd these days.

But all of this rapid progress is going to slow in the next few years. The Internet will soon be sailing in very rough seas, as it’s about to run out of addresses, needing to be gutted and reconfigured for continued growth in the second half of the 2010s and beyond. Originally, the idea was that this upgrade would happen quietly in the background, but over the past few years, it has become clear that the change from the current Internet Protocol version 4, which is quickly running out of addresses, to the new version 6 will be quite a messy affair. “

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