Think of this as Volume 16, Number 23 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
In writing about Ipv6 Day, which was Wednesday, reporters struggled to offer a sense of what it means.
We're about to run out of Internet addresses, they said. (Well, there's a workaround, but...) Remaining Ipv4 addresses are rising in price, and we're going to run out of new ones in 2014. (True, but...) Ipv6 is better – more efficient, more secure, inevitable. (As to the last, well, sorta...)
The fact, we've been kicking the can on this for a decade. Ipv6 was actually proposed in 1996, the idea being to expand the address space from four sets of three hexadecimal numbers each – xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx – to eight sets of four – xxxx.xxxx.xxxx.xxxx.xxxx.xxxx.xxxx.xxxx. Instead of having 32 bits – 4.3 billion addresses – you have 128 bits – 3.4 x 10 to the 38th power addresses. You convert from one to the other by putting zeroes in front of the Ipv4 number.