An IP Address Upgrade

An IP Address Upgrade

It’s about time for an IP address upgrade, don’t you think?! Well, before I go any further, if you’re not sure, an IP address is a unique address that is assigned to a network device by the network. Every computer that connects to a network or the Internet is assigned an IP address. It basically allows that computer to communicate with the network or the Internet.

The current IP address standard, called IPv4, uses 32-bits, which looks something like this: This IP address standard was created in 1981 when the Internet was just a baby. The early creators of the Internet did not believe it would become as large as it is today, especially since it was originally designed only for a few universities and the United States Government. Over time, many large corporations and even the U.S. Government have come to realize that there is a large need to switch over to a new IP standard.

The new version will be called IPv6 and it will use 128-bits. The IPv6 IP address looks something like this: 2001:0db8:85a3:08d3:1319:8a2e:0370:7334.

On August 2, 2005, the Federal Government of the United States issued a memorandum, stating that all Federal Government agencies will transition their network backbones to IPv6 by June 30, 2008. The IPv4 version only allows for four billion IP addresses, which greatly limits the number of devices that can be given a unique, globally routable location on the Internet.

The IPv4 standard has slowed the growth of the Internet worldwide and it constricts the amount of computers and other devices that can be connected to each other via the Internet. On the other hand, the IPv6 standard allows for an almost unlimited number of IP addresses. In all actuality, the IPv6 allows for over 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 different addresses. (And no, I’m not kidding!)

The movement from IPv4 to the new IPv6 will allow us users to have more technology in our lives, because we will now be able to assign more IP addresses to more devices. Soon, mobile phones, televisions and even toasters will be assigned IP addresses! Imagine this: you’re leaving work and you would like a hot cup of coffee when you arrive home. With the IPv6, you would be able to go on your computer, connect to your private home network and tell your coffee machine to make a pot of coffee. Wow, huh?!

It’s just something new to think about!

~ Jack William

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