back to article World economy group gives IPv6 big push

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) sounded an alarm bell yesterday over the rapid depletion of IPv4 internet addresses and gave the IPv6 protocol another push. In the new report titled The Future of the Internet Economy, which has been published ahead of the group’s ministerial meeting in Seoul …


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  1. David Harper

    We've been here before

    Weren't IPv4 addresses meant to run out sometime before the end of the last century? And again sometime early in the present century?

    In any case, many large organisations now shield their entire internal network behind a very small number of gateway public IPv4 addresses, and use the 192.168 or 172.16 private netblocks internally. The public netblocks are allocated using CIDR, so the days are long gone when an organisation gets an entire class A or B block.

    I'm guessing that this story will keep on re-appearing at five-year intervals, and we'll still be using IPv4 when the Unix Timestamp Armageddon comes round and the world really does come to an end in 2037 :-)

  2. Dazed and Confused

    Aren't they a little late

    Haven't we been fast running out of IPv4 addresses for the best part of 20 years?

    It must have been well over 10 years ago they went around a took back loads of address blocks from people who couldn't justify them. They even stole back my class C block I'd hidden under the bed for later use.

  3. Paul Young

    Death of IPv4

    "They've" been warning about lack of IP addresses since 2002

    Is there a constant alarm ringing at an IPv4 server someplace?

    IPv6 is all well and good but I was at a seminar recently that

    pointed out the IPv6 will be out of addresses by 2013

    My personal thought was that IPv6 would last well into 2025

    Please can I have my coat, the one with IPv8 is the future sequined on the back

  4. Herby

    It would help if the nice home routers supported IPv6!

    That would be a nice first step. Requiring the nice home router kit that now provides the bulk of the NAT stuff to at least offer IPv6 addresses on the local side of the firewall. It can't be that difficult.

    The more we have devices that CAN'T do IPv6 that are sold today, the later the implementation is going to be. It is similar to the (crappy) digital TV that is being foistered upon us here in the USA next February. Give everyone a chance to convert, then chop off the old stuff.

    Then again, some things never die! Telephones from before WW2 still work on today's telephone lines.

    Why is that set of buttons arranged in a 3x4 pattern called a "dial"?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    About bl**dy time

    We've been waiting for this for years. Problem is that too many people are scared that it'll be too costly. In most of the cases it BS as most of newer equipment has support for IPv6 ready to be switched on.

    Is it a way to web 2.0? I'm mean not that shiny, shitty AJAX stuff but WEB 2.0...

  6. Daniel B.

    IPv6 still undeployed

    I've always wondered why haven't we already done the "Great Leap Forward" into IPv6. Maybe it is that IPv6 is more complex than IPv4; as those addys look mighty ugly with being 16-bit hex numbers separated by :s like 7348:3fca:31ad:... but the need IS there. Funny thing is that most OS already support IPv6, and I think recent Cisco equipment also has IPv6 support.

    NAT's a cheap solution, and while it does have its uses, I absolutely HATE ISP's that give end-users non-routeable addys. However, with IPv6 I'd like to see extremely cheap IP spaces, as we would be able to.

  7. David Haworth


    some home routers do. My apple airport extreme for example supports ipv6 and does auto-tunnelling to give me an ipv6 address at home.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    @ Paul Young

    "IPv6 is all well and good but I was at a seminar recently that pointed out the IPv6 will be out of addresses by 2013"

    Are you bloody mad??

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    It's not the number of addresses, stupid!

    IPv6 brings QoS, better routing and improved security. I wonder if the delayed rollout has anything to do with government peeping toms upgrading their snooping equipment and rolling out IPv6 Echelon.

  10. Andrew Rodland

    Paul, I think you dropped some digits

    IPv6 may run out of addresses by 2,000,013. Although probably not.

  11. Kanhef

    re: routers

    DD-WRT (linux-based swiss-army-firmware for routers) does IPv6. Some of the other alternative firmwares do as well, IIRC.

    @Charlie Clark:

    IPv4 has had QoS for a long, long time.

  12. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    @Charlie Clark

    Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.

    Simple fact is, the industry hasn't hit a wall yet so they aren't bothering to change, and they'll carry on this way right up to the point where someone important can't get an IP address. Then they'll change.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    ISP's support IPv6?

    So, do many ISP's support IPv6?

    i.e. When I turn on my ADSL router, my ISP will give it an IPv6 address and will correctly route it, etc?

  14. Dazed and Confused

    Running out of IPv6 addresses

    IPv4 addresses are 32bits ie there are in about 4294967296 of them, only in practice there are a lot less because of the way they were allocated and the way some of the routing works.

    IPv6 addresses are 128bits, 340282366920938463463374607431768211456 addresses. Again not all usable, but that is quite a large number.

    When I was allocated by IPv6 address block they asked me if I wanted to connect a network or a machine. I ticked the network box. They allocated me 80bits worth of address space. That's 1208925819614629174706176 addresses, or really 2^16 blocks of 2^64 addresses. That might seem rather profligate, but they have 2^48 of that sized blocks to hand out. 2^48 is 256T, so assuming there are about 8billion people in the world that is 32,000 address blocks per head of world population. Even if we wanted to give every byte of data stored in the world a unique IPv6 address I don't think we'd run out of address space any time soon.

  15. Adam

    Exhausing IPv6

    "IPv6 is all well and good but I was at a seminar recently that pointed out the IPv6 will be out of addresses by 2013"


    In fact there is about 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 IPv6 addresses per person alive today. I think we will be good for a while yet.

  16. Bronek Kozicki


    I wonder whether IP6 offers multicast that works; without it the whole IPTV baloon will pop very soon.

  17. Telic
    IT Angle

    Y2K.38 Bug

    "I'm guessing that this story will keep on re-appearing at five-year intervals, and we'll still be using IPv4 when the Unix Timestamp Armageddon comes round and the world really does come to an end in 2037 :-)"

    Actually, the 2038 computer bug (Y2K-38) isn't about any one particular operating system.

    The bug arises largely due to the popularity of the C and C++ programming languages, which are used for all versions of Windows (and MS-DOS), Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, and countless embedded systems (e.g. consumer electronics). The culprit is the use of "signed 32-bit long integer" values for date/time functions.

    The standard C/C++ time-keeping library has a type of data variable that keeps track of the date and time as the total number of seconds which have transpired since 1 January 1970 at 00:00 GMT. A signed 32-bit integer can represent a maximum positive value of 2147483647, which corresponds to Tuesday, 19 January 2038, at 3:14:07 AM GMT (about 8:14 AM EST, or 11:14 AM PST).

    When the time-variable is incremented beyond its positive maximum, it will "wrap around" to a very large negative value: -2147483648. The C/C++ time-functions translate this negative to a date in the past, sometimes with invalid values, such as -17 January 1902, or sometime in 1901.

    So, the moment following 19 January 2038, 03:14 GMT, could launch millions of desktop and embedded systems back into 1901, or 1970 by default. Symptoms of the problem can include clocks running backwards!

    This shouldn't be an issue for fully 64-bit computing systems.


  18. Peter Marshall
    Paris Hilton

    If they're so short of addresses..

    .. how come they're so easy to get, and not that expensive?

    PH because everyone keeps telling me her time's over, but she's still here (though expensive)

  19. Jim Morrow
    Thumb Down

    We've been here before -- but this time it's for real

    > Weren't IPv4 addresses meant to run out sometime before the end of the last century?

    Yes. Which is why CIDR and more conservative address allocation policies were introduced in the mid-90s. They made more efficient use of the remaining address space, which bought the Internet a decade of breathing space.

    > And again sometime early in the present century?

    Isn't 2010/2011 early this century?

    > In any case, many large organisations now shield their entire internal network behind a very small number of gateway public IPv4 addresses, and use the 192.168 or 172.16 private netblocks internally.

    So what? Even with increased use of private IPv4 address space and NAT, there simply isn't enough public IPv4 address space to go round. It can't last forever and it *is* running out.

    > I'm guessing that this story will keep on re-appearing at five-year intervals

    Guess again. Go and read what IANA and the RIRs are saying about this issue. And read the OECD report. The exhaustion of IPv4 was a serious and very real concern. Which is why this OECD report has been published and why the Internet numbering authorities have been raising awareness of the issue for a while.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Death of IPv4??

    >> IPv6 is all well and good but I was at a seminar recently that pointed out the IPv6 will be out of addresses by 2013.

    Either you weren't paying attention or you were listening to an idiot.

    Even Paris knows that it'll take more than 6 years to use up 320 trillion, trillion, trillion IPv6 addresses if it took the world 40-odd years to use up 4 billion IPv4 addresses.

  21. Nexox Enigma


    It isn't just your home router that needs to support IPv6, every router between your ADSL line and the host you want to connect to needs to support it as well. That makes for a rather huge number of hardware upgrade / replacements.

    Plus there'll inevitably be a very long nightmare period where every service will need to have both v4 and v6 addresses, and any users that upgrade to v6 will need some ability to encapsulate v4 within v6, or similarly have one of each address.

    Plus, ipv6 addresses seem like they'll be quite a bit harder to remember, type, say over the phone, etc. Thank the gods that I'll be out of the IT industry really soon, becuase this is just one of those things that I don't want to have to deal with on a large scale.

  22. Quirkafleeg

    Re: Death of IPv4??

    “320 trillion, trillion, trillion IPv6 addresses”

    320 000000000000000000 000000000000000000 000000000000000000

    2^128 =

    340 282366920938463463 374607431768211456

    You're out by, roughly, a factor of a milliard milliard.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fat chance in the UK...

    There does not seem to be much hope of fast action in the UK...

    The 'UK' link on the IPV6 Forum site is to a BT site - and their page reads "The BT UK6x IPv6 service has now closed."

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business need and potential problems

    The lack of a business need and the fear that changeover might prevent access to corporate websites for users/customers who are still on IPv4 are the two main reasons why my employers won't change (yet).

    I have been asked to ensure that all our network kit is IPv6 capable but as we have a quarter of a Class B and one Class C entirely spare, I guess we aren't likely to change anytime soon. If there were things available on the Internet to users of IPv6 that were not available to users of IPv4, I guess that would change.

    As for NAT/PAT, we would NAT the internal users anyway - it is a useful security step.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @ Nexox Enigma

    I believe that IPv6 already has the ability to embed IPv4 addresses within its scheme, therefore no need to run both.

    Switch to IPv6 on your device, and it can also talk IPv4.

    I think?

  26. wibbilus maximus


    "Network Address Translation (NAT), which makes it possible for several systems to share a single IPv4 address"

    Actually, no it doesn't. Network Address Translation allows multiple machines to use multiple IP addresses. The correct term is PAT (Port Address Translation) which converts the information from your internal IP address to be converted to a port on your router allowing multiple systems to use a single external IP address.

    NAT ------> ------>


    PAT ------> (55874) ------> (59653)

    (OK, I know i'm being fussy about this but after working on a helpdesk you start to hate people referring to things by the wrong name. how often have you heard the desktop wallpaper called "my screensaver"?)

  27. Brian Scott

    Re: Death of IPv4??

    Actually, I saw a paper a while back explaining why IPv6 addresses would run out much sooner than expected. I forget the details but my understanding was that it was caused by stupid administrative practices.

    By convention, the bottom 64 bits is made up from a slightly modified version of the MAC address of the network interface, thus every network is automatically provisioned to be able to have every network device in the whole world connected to it at once. This is possibly overkill.

    ISPs would give out /48 addresses so you can do your own subnetting (16 bits, 65536 subnets - should be enough, even for me). We are now down to 2**48 possible connections to ISPs.

    The addresses available to an ISP are part of an allocation sold to their upstream providers, and so on up the pole. Everyone in the chain needs a sufficiently large allocation of subnets that they wont run out any time in the future.

    I think that this sort of thinking is very similar to the old 'give everyone an A class address so everyone will have lots of flexibility' thinking from the dawn of the internet. We all know the mess that caused when more than 125 companies wanted to play.

    IPv6 was never designed to have 2**128 devices connected. The fact that it has 128 bit addresses leads some people to draw the wrong conclusions.

    I run IPv6 at home with no thanks to my ISP or router vendor. The only advantages at this stage seem to be the swimming turtle at and learning about something that everyone else will be learning in a hurry in a few years time.

  28. Ian Chard

    Google [...] now available over IPv6

    Really? is an alias for is an alias for has no AAAA record

  29. James Anderson
    Thumb Down

    There is no way to get from here to there.

    The designers of IPV6 failed to come up with any sensible migration path from IPV4 the internet as we no its with 165,719,150 active sites and billions of browsers to IPV6 with its mere hundreds of web sites.

    You can start up an IPV6 web site but if you want anyone to access it you will need an IPV4 address as well so whats the point!

    IPV6 is superior to IPV4 in every way and vastly improves secuirty, reliability, and, performance.

    But without a sensible migration stategey there is no short or medium term benefits in switching so nobody has!

  30. Adam Foxton

    Meanwhile at UK.Gov HQ...

    They'll probably try to fix the problem by "reclassifying" all the Class C addresses as Class B to discourage people using them...

  31. B Candler Silver badge

    IPv6? No thanks

    >> I've always wondered why haven't we already done the "Great Leap Forward" into IPv6

    IMO, it's because the Internet isn't driven by people saying "wouldn't it be nice if we had longer IP addresses?" It's driven by businesses who say "how much does this IT project cost, and what benefits does it generate?"

    The cost of IPv6 deployment is high. Remember that you have to upgrade not just your routers and your operating systems, but all your networked application software too.

    And in return, how many businesses would see any commercial benefit (i.e. increased revenue or reduced cost)? I think few, if any.

    >> IPv6 brings QoS, better routing and improved security

    Sorry, but none of the above.

    Perhaps people think that IPv6 brings security because it mandates IPSEC implementation. But you can run IPSEC on IPv4 too. The fact that there is no acceptable trust model for distribution of IPSEC keys (DNSSEC? Hah!) means that neither is useful for anything other than VPNs.

    QoS? Where did that idea come from?

    Better routing? IPv6 routing is the same as IPv4, apart from the longer prefixes.

    In theory it was supposed to be easy to renumber your network in IPv6, to make it easier to change provider and maintain aggregation. In practice, it's no easier than IPv4. As anyone who's renumbered a network knows, changing your *interface* configuration is the easy part; changing all your interdependent *application* configurations is the hard part.

    IPv6 doesn't offer any solution to the multihoming problem either. Registry policies on PI space are irrelevant. If businesses need to multihome, then they will buy the service, and so ISPs will make the necessary route announcements, leading to the same explosion of routing tables as IPv4 has now.

    Where are the benefits? There is only one, and that's the availability of more addresses. (Of course, if we started with a brand-new IPv4 Internet without all those legacy classful allocations, we'd be fine too, but that's a side issue)

    So let's suppose the day comes along when an ISP goes to a registry and is told there are no more addresses available, period. The ISP will then have two alternatives:

    (1) Give their customers private IPv4 addresses behind a NAT firewall. For those few users who want to receive incoming connections, have application-level proxies (e.g. SMTP, HTTP)

    (2) Give their customers IPv6 addresses, and also set up a NAT firewall for them to be able to access the IPv4 Internet, which is where all the content is anyway.

    Solution (1) works today. It can even be sold as a "security" benefit to customers, since the user will be behind the ISP's firewall. The majority of users won't see any difference.

    Solution (2) is a pain to implement for both the ISP and the customer. ISPs work on tight margins. Do they want the support overhead of getting all their customers to upgrade and reconfigure their endpoints to IPv6? (Again, including all application software?)

    In the "no more IPv4" scenario, gamers and peer-to-peer filesharers may be persuaded to switch to IPv6, as they would see a benefit. But the majority will be happy with NAT.

  32. Sam Easterby-Smith


    So if v6 isn't going to give us the all-pervasive-gazillion-adresses-totally-wonderful-network-firmament-xanadu that we all so desperately need what are we actually all going to DO then?

    I say sit and twiddle your thumbs for another few years until someone has a better idea.

  33. Acme Fixer

    @ David Harper

    192.168?? Are you serious? We're not that big an organization and we use the whole class A netblock internally. 192.168 and the other one are for home PC sissies.

    What always amazes me is when I look at the IPV4 address space and I see all those "reserved" blocks for the use of IANA or whomever. Like, if they gave back those to the rest of the world, we'd never run out! And then there are all those 'multicast' addresses...

  34. Sabahattin Gucukoglu

    @ Ian Chard


  35. foo_bar_baz

    @wibbilus m

    You've got to choose your fights, this one you cannot win.

    'NAT' is too far entrenched and I'd argue you're comparing 1-many NAT with many-many NAT.

    Yes, and Cisco is wrong on 'trunk' too.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bring it on

    My systems are all ready - just move on over if you like.

    I don't know what the big deal is, when the IP4 range runs out, then people will need to go IP6, and we will just flip over. Big whoopie whooos, I am rather looking forward to a couple of minutes mayhem :)

    As long as we have two weeks notice I don't see a problem.

    I am sure a lot of places will be caught with their tightie whities round their ankles, and be off the Net for weeks, but so what, it is not like they cannot hire people to sort it out.

    Oh, if only they would do it this brutal way :)


    IPv4 will still work, and IPv6 is here, the problem is a lot of client machines cannot work with it. Version 4 will be phased out, but it will be done gradually.

    People just don't want to be the first running only IP6 on their servers, and they're right to feel that way, so handing out the free IP6 numbers is the way to get the existing base over.

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