It’s already happening – the IPv4 apocalypse. There aren’t many IPv4 addresses left though the total IPv4 availability is supposed to be 4.3 billion addresses. It’s true: we are having an IP explosion. Let’s take a look at some stats and future predictions.
- There are only 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses in the world. Don’t be shocked at this astronomical figure. We have almost run out of IP rations.
- There are 7.1+ billion people on earth. And this matters because we are adding more IP endpoints each day
- By 2016, there will be around 20 billion devices online
- Gartner predicts that the Bring Your Own Device trend will result in the doubling or tripling of the mobile workforce
- Cisco network traffic forecast predicts 1.4 zettabytes of traffic by 2017
All this points in the same direction that IPv4 exhaustion is happening faster than anticipated, and we have to start preparing for IPv6 for future-ready network strategies.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has distributed approximately 16.8 million IPv4 addresses each to all 5 regional Internet registries (RIR) in the world. EMEA and APAC have already depleted their IPv4 addresses, and the other RIRs are getting closer to exhaustion
IPv6 to the Rescue
IPv6, the new 128-bit variant of the IPv4 address (which was just 32 bits), is the next resort for all companies, government agencies and service providers. There are 340 trillion trillion trillion (3 x 1038) IPv6 addresses in the world so it’s virtually impossible to run out of them any time soon – at least for the next 20 odd years.
All this is said only from the perspective of IP space availability. IPv6 has more far-reaching benefits than IPv4 in terms of security, operational efficiency, and overall network management.
- More efficient address space allocation
- Direct and end-to-end addressing. No need of network address translation (NAT).
- Fragmentation only by the source host
- More efficient routing
- More efficient packet processing
- Multicasting made more easier
- Built-in security mechanisms (IPsec)
- Single control protocol (ICMPv6)
- Modular header structure
IPv6 is here to stay. And we’ll now have room for unique IP address any each and every IP-enabled device in the world.
By now you would have got a strong understanding of what IPv6 can do for you, and you now have to start looking at how to get IPv6 into your network – how to prepare your infrastructure and processes for that, how to migrate IPv4 addresses to IPv6, and how to manage dual-stack networks.