Although somewhat overshadowed by the major news stories developing around the world in recent weeks, those of us in the tech industry have seen no shortage of attention paid to the impending changes surrounding IPv4. Just today, I read a few articles about how the world has run out of IPv4 addresses. I also recently received a survey about our specific plans for IPv6.
Even with all of this media attention, however, there are many questions that still remain (one of which we’ve decided to use for a new contest). While we can’t answer all of them, we’d at least like to chime in about a few.
Will a switch to IPv6 really reduce the need for IPv4?
Despite its availability, no one will choose to completely convert to IPv6 until the rest of the world knows how to send and receive it. To do so would be communication suicide. Only when there is a near full conversion to IPv6 could you reliably use it to exclusively communicate. This creates a paradox of sorts: In order to remain accessible to all, you must retain your old IPv4 address.
This is easier said than done for some.
While there are certainly products and services to forward your mail when you establish an IPv6 address, what about a new company established from scratch with no pre-existing Web presence? When the owners call their ISP to obtain an address for their new website, instead of the simple exchange that may have taken place in the past, the conversation will go a little like this:
ISP: “We ran out of IPv4 addresses last week, but don’t worry, we are going to hook you up with a brand-spanking-new IPv6 address and you should be good to go.”
Business Owner: “So, how do the people that don’t speak IPv6 contact me?”
ISP: “Don’t worry. We’ll handle the conversions for you, like the postal office forwards your mail when you move.”
Business Owner: “Yes, but I did not have an existing address. I am a new company.”
Therefore, new companies must not only establish an IPv6 address, but they must also somehow scrounge up an old IPv4 address to prevent being cut off from the percentage of the world that has not switched over.
The point is that even with IPv6, there will be no immediate relief on the IPv4 address space (Fortunately, viable alternatives do exist).
So, when will IPv4 be obsolete?
We have no idea exactly when, but based on the discussion above, we don’t think it will happen any time soon.
What does it mean to be completely switched over to IPv6?
This question will only be answered over time, and even then, it will be open to various interpretations. However, to better track the implementation of IPv6, and to facilitate our understanding of it, we’ve decided to establish a contest.
Note: The following is a contest overview. Official contest rules and registration details will be revealed in our April newsletter (click here to register for the upcoming newsletter).
Contest Rules and Requirements
We, APconnections, makers of the NetEqualizer, will award one $10,000 USD prize as per the following criteria:
- First, you must register for the contest and provide all required information. The registration link will be included in the April NetEqualizerNews newsletter and posted on the NetEqualizer News Blog after our newsletter goes out next month.
- Winners will be awarded based on predicting the date of the actual adoption of IPv6 worldwide (see below).
- If no entries are entered for the actual date, then the prize will be awarded to the next closest prediction after the date of switchover.
- One entry per person. Duplicate registrations will disqualify an entrant.
- Entrants must be 18 years of age or older on the date of entry.
- If more than one contestant chooses the winning date, the $10,000 USD prize will be divided equally among winners.
APconnections will monitor and announce when the world has switched over to IPv6 based on the following criteria:
- The winning date shall be determined by the first time/date we can actively verify that any set of 50 companies with revenue of over $5 million USD per year has changed its public-facing Internet addresses to a full 128-bit address.
- None of the 50 qualifying companies can be using any form of an older IPv4 address for any public communications with the Internet (i.e., e-mail servers, publicly accessible Web pages administered or licensed to the company).
- None of the 50 qualifying companies shall be using any special conversion equipment to translate between IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.
- Internal IPv6 intranet conversions do not qualify.
- All public addresses at qualifying companies must use an address with more than 32 bits (greater than 255.255.255.255).
- To be valid for the contest award, IPv6 worldwide adoption criteria date must be validated and published by the APconnections engineering staff and not by any other third party. Please feel free to help us by sending the names of any companies using IPv6 for verification.
Again, the official contest rules, registration information, and deadlines will be released in our upcoming April newsletter. So, be sure to sign up.