The search engine giant Google recently posed a question to the online community: “What if the Internet ran out of room?” (http://www.google.com/intl/en/ipv6/index.html). The question refers to the impending shortage of IP addresses used to connect individual devices to the Internet. According to Vint Cerf, one of the founders of the Internet and Google employee, the scores of Internet capable devices available today will soon exhaust the original 4 billion IP addresses.
Luckily, this issue was recognized in the mid 1990’s and ever since then, developers have been working on an update that would increase the amount of unique IP addresses to an unfathomable number (all we need to know is that the amount is sufficient enough to handle the increase in Internet devices well into the future). On June 6th, the update known as “IPv6” was launched and the transition to the new Internet officially began.
Google stresses the fact that the transition will not affect the public’s Internet accessibility in any way. So why is this update so important? All good ideas are shaped and perfected through experimentation. At one point the Internet was nothing more than an experiment and when it launched, the founders never imagined that their experiment would have such a far-reaching impact on the world. The official unveiling of IPv6 serves as a tribute to the humble beginnings of the Internet and the visionaries that brought it to the masses.
Written by Simon Rubin