The internet is running out of IPv4 addresses, but why are we still not ready for IPv6?


IPv6 was officially launched in 2012 but had already been in existence for a number of years and had already been implemented on all major operating systems used by businesses including Microsoft Server 2008 and Windows Vista.  Long before that, it had been widely acknowledged that we were going to run out of IPv4 addresses.

RIPE, Europe’s regional internet registry, announced last month that “we made our final /22 IPv4 allocation from the last remaining addresses in our available pool. We have now run out of IPv4 addresses.”

Except that is, for those that it “will continue to recover… from organizations that have gone out of business or no longer need them.”

Yet many organisations are still not ready to implement IPv6.  This is largely down to the fact that in Europe there is no overall body enforcing the migration to IPv6.

In the US, there is a government policy enforcing the transition to IPv6, while in Asia, the new protocol has been accelerated simply by virtue of their rapid growth and the need for IP addresses.

An even bigger challenge is that IPv6 is significantly different, to the extent that it is completely incompatible with it’s predecessor and there is a real risk of making security mistakes, exposing unintended resources.  Some networks continue to simply, not work on IPv6, even when they have done so over IPv4 for many years.

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