[AfrICANN-discuss] ICANN turns on next-gen IP addresses

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Fri Feb 8 00:25:04 SAST 2008

ICANN turns on next-gen IP addresses
New version of Internet Protocol data has been added to six of the
world's root servers, assuring supply of unique IP addresses.
By David Meyer
Special to CNET News.com
Published: February 5, 2008, 8:11 AM PST


The great migration from Internet Protocol version 4 to IPv6 has
officially begun, after the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers added the first addresses to its root servers that conform
to the new version.

On Monday, ICANN, which maintains the Internet's addressing systems,
said it had for the first time added IPv6 addresses to the appropriate
files and databases on six of the world's 13 root server networks--the
systems containing the authoritative databases that form a master list
of all top-level domain names. Before ICANN did this, those who were
using IPv6 had no choice but to run it alongside IPv4, because the
root server networks accommodated only IPv4.

"IPv6 will be an essential part (of) our future, and support in the
root servers is essential to the growth, stability, and reliability of
the public Internet," said the chairman of ICANN's Internet service
and connectivity provider constituency, Tony Holmes. "The ISP
community welcomes this development as part of the continuing
evolution of the public Internet."

Almost all IP addresses currently use the fourth version of the
protocol, IPv4, but the length of those addresses limits their number
of permutations to around four billion. As more people become
connected to the Internet and as more devices are manufactured that
can themselves intelligently connect to the Internet, that number is
rapidly becoming insufficient.

Businesses are now being urged to start migrating to the sixth version
of the Internet protocol--IPv6. Because it uses a longer string of
characters, this version makes it possible to have more than 340
trillion trillion trillion possible unique addresses. IPv6 has already
been in use for a while in large corporations, where many employees
need to be hooked up to a semiprivate network, but ICANN's latest move
marks the start of the wider migration.

David Conrad, ICANN's vice president of research, said the addition of
IPv6 addresses for the root servers "enhances the end-to-end
connectivity for IPv6 networks, and furthers the growth of the global
interoperable Internet."
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Plan now for shift to IPv6 access
Jay Daley, director of IT for Nominet, the not-for-profit company that
runs the .uk registry, said the onus was now on those companies
running large Web sites to make the transition to IPv6.

"IPv6 and IPv4 don't interact. If you have an IPv6 client, it can't
reach an IPv4 server anywhere," said Daley. "If you really want to see
take-up of IPv6, we need the people who run high-volume Web sites to
switch over to providing both IPv6 and IPv4 access to them. There are
very few sites out there that do that."

Daley explained that all operating systems and most enterprise
equipment now supports IPv6 "quite happily," but some low-cost
consumer-grade equipment and some applications do not yet support it.

IT managers, said Daley, need to "start planning for how the Web
services that they provide will be accessible over IPv6."

"They need to consider using IPv6 when they need any new addresses
internally," said Daley. "They must also make sure that they do a
repetitive audit over the next few years to make sure their equipment
and software supports IPv6. People might be sitting there thinking
'Why do I need to do this?' But it may soon be extremely difficult to
get hold of any more IPv4 addresses. It is imperative to ensure you
don't suddenly find yourself in a crunch and all of a sudden have to
make shift to IPv6 without planning."

Daley also warned that, because IPv4 addresses are now "close to
running out," such addresses are likely to become significantly more
expensive in the near future.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.
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Feb 5, 2008, 11:34 AM PST
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