Happy IPv6 Day

We've run out of IPv4 addresses. Time to test drive the new protocol

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Happy “World IPv6 Day.” If that’s not on your calendar as a major holiday, I’ll explain. Today, more than a thousand organizations, including such Internet giants as Google, Akamai, and Facebook are taking the latest version of the Internet’s most important protocol out for a one-day test drive.

And it’s just in the nick of time. It’s been four months since the final batch of IPv4 addresses were handed out to the Regional Internet Registries, which means we could run completely out of IPv4 addresses within a year’s time. IPv6 can handle some 340 undecillion unique addresses. That sounds like a made-up word, but my producer assures me it means there are about 10 to the 29th more addresses than the 4 billion addresses that IPv4 has space for.

The Internet doesn’t have a president or prime minister or czar or any other form of governance; there’s no one to say, okay, this is the day we’re all going to switch from one IP version to another. There’s the Internet Engineering Task Force, a volunteer organization that hammers out the details of the protocols themselves, and there’s the Internet Society, a nonprofit organization that was created in 1992 in order to, as its charter says, provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education, and policy. Earlier this year the Internet Society decided to devote a day to the new protocol. So what’s this day all about? And what does it mean for us Web surfers, bloggers, e-mailers, and Facebook updaters?

My guest is Leslie Daigle, the chief Internet technology officer for the Internet Society. Previously, she served as chair of the Internet Architecture Board and before that, she worked on Internet directory systems with the Internet Engineering Task Force.

This interview was recorded 7 June 2011.
Segment producer: Ariel Bleicher; audio engineer: Francesco Ferorelli
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