Many of us are at least sort of vaguely aware that “the world is running out of IP addresses”. And by this we mean IP addresses like 126.96.36.199 — four numbers each in the range of 000 to 255. These are called IPv4 IP addresses. But there is also a newer kind of IP addresses called IPv6 IP addresses. I was fascinated recently to find out that my firm has some of these newer kind of IP addresses.
IPv4 uses a 32-bit address space which provides 4,294,967,296 (232) unique addresses, although substantial portions of that space are set aside for particular uses. That space ran out in 2011. In an effort to deal with this, the IETF set up the IPv6 standard in 1998. IPv6 uses a 128-bit address, theoretically allowing 2128, or approximately 3.4×1038 addresses. IPv6 addresses are represented as eight groups, separated by colons, of four hexadecimal digits, so an example of an IPv6 address might be 2001:0db8:0000:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334. There are several notational conventions that allow you to leave out some of the digits under some circumstances, and so very often a particular IPv6 address is capable of being communicated with fewer than thirty-two digits.
The main point of this blog article is to share that I learned recently that several of the servers that my firm operates in a server farm in Arizona have IPv6 addresses assigned to them in addition to having IPv4 addresses assigned to them. So for example our server that hosts this blog has not only the IPv4 address 188.8.131.52 but also the IPv6 address 2607:7700:0:1f:0:1:a2ff:749d.
I also have found that the Internet service providers serving the work-from-home locations for many people in our firm are providing not only IPv4 addresses but also IPv6 addresses to those Internet connections.
Are you using IPv6 addresses? Please post a comment below.