The Internet began moving across from its old addressing system to the next generation last week but no one should notice any difference for now.
After four years of extensive testing, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (Iana) has delegated the initial Version 6 of the Internet Protocol (IPv6) addressing system for the Internet to the regional registries in order to begin immediate worldwide deployment.
“This is an historic moment in the continued development of the Internet,” commented a spokesperson for Iana.
IPv6 was developed following fears that the Internet would eventually run out of unique addresses as more and more devices - from palmtops to microwaves - hook up to the Internet.
The existing address system, IPv4, is 32bit based bit IPv6 is 64bit based, significantly increasing the number of available addresses. In addition it is claimed that IPv6 offers heightened security and better automation of tasks.
The big regional registry for Net addresses in Europe, dubbed RIPE, as well as the American Registry for Internet Numbers and the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre will now start issuing IPv6 addresses to those that request them. (see www.ripe.net)
However, experts say it could take up to 10 years for the new standard to become widespread due to the lack of IPv6 browsers and IPv6 routers.
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