Just like your home residence has a street address, every network connected to the Internet has an address that allows all the data and web pages to reach your computer. When the Internet addressing scheme was designed in 1981, called IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4), the was no way of foreseeing the explosive growth of the Internet. The current scheme can support 4.3 billion addresses.
What is the answer to the world’s shortage of Internet addresses? IPv6. Internet Protocol Version 6 allows for many more devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.) and users on the Internet. How many addresses will be available? 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,434,768,211,456.
IPv6 also allows for more flexibility in allocating addresses and quicker traffic routing. What it does not allow is IPv4 users surfing the IPv6 Internet without your current Internet service provider’s intervention.
No date has been established for the move to IPv6. Actually, IPv4 addresses are still being passed out. Anyone’s best guess is that the need to switch to IPv6 is 3 to 5 years away. Your IT staff needs to educated on IPv6 if you upgrade your Microsoft products to the latest versions such as, Exchange 2010, Server 2008 and Windows 7 on the desktop as IPv6 is baked into these products.
Business owners can rest well knowing that this is not an issue that is going to sneak up you. We lived through Y2K and the move from Analog TV to Digital TV. Remember how much media attention both issues received? We are not going to escape the IPv6 transition and we will all manage to make the change.