IPv6 ChinaIt turns out there is an end to the Internet after all: the international companies that make web addresses available say some countries will run out of available ones as early as 2010.
Currently, the world uses version 4 of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. A forward-thinking group meeting in Beijing, China, this month is encouraging people to move to IP version six, called IPv6 for short. There’s no word on what happened to version 5.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers said IP version 4 has about 4.7 billion possible addresses, an enormous amount by normal measures, but dwarfed by IPv6, which has more than four times as many addresses. That huge number gets a lot smaller when you think about not only traditional web sites but future applications that could work through the World Wide Web, like remote control of closed-circuit security cameras, and controlling your home from work. With the proper web address, you could turn on the lights, heat and dishwasher so the house gets ready for your arrival while you’re still in rush hour.
A Microsoft spokesman told technology companies at the IPv6 meeting that they should be preparing for the new version of Internet Protocols already. There’s no schedule for changing the world’s computer companies from version 4 to version 6, but analysts say the change is inevitable. Google, for example, has set up a version six of its main page, arguably the most visited page on the Internet. Ipv6.google.com
China is already using IPv6, at least for academic and research institutes, though its response to the push to change everything to the new version may be an example for the rest of the world.
Mao Wei, director of the China Internet Network Information Centre, said, “There is no mechanism to switch over to IPv6, nor do we know who will issue that order, which department.”