We Need Engineers Ensuring The Web Doesn't Run Out Of Addresses

We Need Engineers Ensuring The Web Doesn’t Run Out Of Addresses

IP addresses are important on the World Wide Web and every internet-enabled device has at least one IP address. Unfortunately, the current IP addressing system has a limited number of IP addresses, which means they’ll soon be running out. This outdated system, IPv4 was deployed more than three decades ago and it is still in use. IPv6 is an improvement on IPv4 and it’s seen as its replacement since it offers almost an infinite number of IP addresses.

To learn more, checkout the infographic below created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Masters in Electrical Engineering program.

We Need Engineers Ensuring The Web Doesn't Run Out Of Addresses


Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) – This is a connectionless protocol used in packet-switched networks, such as Ethernet. IPv4 provides a logical connection between computers in a network by identifying each device. Depending on the type of network, you can configure IPv4 automatically or manually. IPv4 was deployed on January 1, 1983 and it is still the most common addressing system today. The IP version uses 32-bit addresses.

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) – This internet protocol is used for carrying data packets from the source to a destination over different networks. It is an improvement of IPv4 and can identify a larger number of devices on a number of networks. Unlike IPv4, which uses 32-bit addresses, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses. While deployment of this IP version began in 1999, adoption has been slow.

Consequences of Slow Adoption

Due to slow adoption of IPv6, IPv4-configured routers are stretched to the limit and are now at their breaking point. This is what caused the global internet blackout in August 2014 when telecommunication routers hit the 512k route limit. As traffic continues to exceed the limits of old routers, these internet blackouts will continue.

Slow adoption of IPv6 has also led to diminished security. IPv4 was developed in the 1970′s when security was not an issue. As a result, IPv4 firewalls only protect against attacks from IPv4 devices and not devices on IPv6 networks. Today, however, security is a serious issue. In 2014, 44% of US companies experienced some sort of cyber-attack, so there is need for enhanced security.

Since IPv6 offers many benefits, businesses are missing out due to slow adoption of this technology. IPv6 can support almost an unlimited number of IP addresses, which makes the “Internet of Things” possible. It also provides for innovative IP version 6 applications. The best thing about it is that IPv4 computers can still exist under the IPv6 addressing system. For companies building a strong brand, adoption of IPv6 technology supplies leadership positioning. That said, over 92% of companies which have already deployed IPv6 technology have experienced one or more benefits.

Global Demand for IP Addresses

In 2015, there are 3.2 billion internet users around the world. That’s well over 44% of the global population of 7.3 billion. There are also 7 billion mobile subscriptions around the world. It is estimated that 46% of the global population has access to the internet at home. The population of the world is growing at a rate of 81 million people per year, which means the global population will hit 8.1 billion by the year 2030. By 2020, the number of wireless connected devices is expected to reach 40.9 billion.

Adoption of IPv6

While deployment of IPv6 started in 1999, only 6.23% of Google users around the world are currently using IPv6. In the United States, only 19.28% of users have made the switch. Sweden is ranked number one worldwide with an IPv6 adoption rate of 33.84% of Google users.

State of IPv6 Deployment in Global Business

Around 22% of global businesses are currently deploying IPv6, 19% have already deployed IPv6 in at least some portions of their networks while 15% of currently assessing the costs and benefits of deploying the technology. On the other hand 14% of global businesses will begin deployment within the next two years and a similar number have not yet considered deploying IPv6. A tenth of global businesses will let demand from end-users drive deployment of IPv6 while 6% of businesses have decided not to deploy IPv6.

Deployment of IPv6 in Large Organizations

Larger organizations are more likely to adopt IPv6 than smaller organizations. It is estimated that 83% of companies with at least 300,000 employees/subscribers or over a million IP addresses have already deployed IPv6. On the other hand, 75% of organizations with between 100,000 and 1,000,000 IP addresses or 30,000 to 300,000 employees/subscribers have adopted IPv6. Only 43% of organizations with 3,000 employees/subscribers or fewer than 10,000 IP addresses have deployed IPv6.

Top IPv6 adopters include: Twitter, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Netflix, Mozilla, U.S. Government and Wikipedia.

Barriers to Implementation of IPv6

27% of companies cite inability to demonstrate a strong case for IPv6 deployment as the biggest obstacle to implementing IPv6, while 19% cite complexity of infrastructure upgrades as the main obstacle. 8% of businesses claim there’s no good reason to shift. The cost of equipment upgrades is cited by 11% of companies as a major obstacle.

While 34% of companies around the world have no intention of deploying IPv6, 26% rely on their ISP to translate IPv6 packets to IPv4 while 17% are providing tunneling services. 19% of companies are offering translation services from IPv4 to IPv6.

In the near future, the demand for engineers and system administrators with IPv6 knowledge will increase at a rate of 12% by 2022. This translates to 42,900 new positions.

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