From IPv4 to IPv6: Sustaining the Growth of the Internet

To put the growth of the Internet into perspective, a February 2012 report by Cisco found that last year's mobile data traffic was eight times the size of the entire global Internet traffic in 2000.

As you know, every Internet enabled device needs an IP address to send and receive data online.

The RIPE NCC, the other Regional Internet Registries and the wider technical community have been aware of this issue for many years, recognising that a new protocol was required to meet future demand. It was with this in mind that the next-generation of IP addresses, IPv6, was developed in the 1990s.

Unlike IPv4, of which there is only a finite pool of around four billion unique IP addresses, IPv6 addresses have a longer format allowing for roughly 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses.

In reality, the introduction of IPv6 will not change the Internet. The Internet will continue to run in exactly the same way, but if operators want to allow the Internet to continue to grow, then they must be prepared to adopt IPv6.

Through training courses and innovative channels including IPv6ActNow.org, the RIPE NCC has provided governments and industry, with a transparent and accurate source of data regarding IP addressing issues - such as IPv4 exhaustion and steps to adopting IPv6 in good time.

With the 'Internet of Things' a near reality, the possibilities of Internet-enabling almost any device, means that addresses will be needed in ever increasing numbers. If organisations are to remain connected in this increasingly networked world, then IPv6 should be a priority. The time to adopt is now!