The End is Near!

November 26, 2010

On February 4th, 2009, I told you that IPv4 address space is running out and that IPv6 is here to replace it.

As of this writing, there are about 218 days worth of IPv4 address space remaining, and the usage rate is still accelerating. Before you know it, there won’t be any more new IP space to allocate, and between now and then you will see much more strict rules applied to handing out addresses.

Of course these rules are not imposed by SoftLayer, but by IANA, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. IANA controls IPv4 address space that is doled out to regional registries. IANA already imposes some pretty hefty regulations on how and when IPv4 space is handed out, but the regional registries in some cases are even more difficult to obtain addresses from.

This is by design, and is (despite frustrations otherwise) a good thing. If IANA had not put regulations in place or tightened the regulations as we went along, we would have run out of addresses quite a long time ago. Long before IPv6 was ready. Just to put it into perspective- there are more internet-connected devices in the world today than there are IPv4 addresses and an estimated 22 billion by 2020.

As I mentioned 21 months ago, SoftLayer has native IPv6 support on all networks in all datacenters. We also give you IPv6 address space in large chunks, and free of charge.

Since then, my home ISP provides me native IPv6 support across the wire, and my home PCs all have IPv6 addresses on their interfaces. In the event that websites or network services report an “AAAA” record in DNS, my systems at home prefer the IPv6 path over the IPv4 path. My personal servers share an IPv6 /64 subnet.

While the address space is waning, IPv4 isn’t going to die because of it. Not yet, at least. As more people adopt IPv6, it will tend to free up IPv4 address space for those of us who still enjoy playing old games or using old software that cannot or will not ever be updated for the new protocol.

Before the addresses run out, before new sites come online that are forced to use IPv6 with no native IPv4 access, check to see if your ISP for your home or business is already providing you native IPv6 capability. If they don’t, pick up a phone and ask why. If they don’t know, choose a new provider.

SoftLayer already has you covered. And we have a countdown timer on the home page www.softlayer.com to keep you up to date.

The end is near!!! (For IPv4 at least)

-Justin