February 01, 2011, 4:21 PM — This is going to sound a little smug, given how little I personally need to do about it and how big a potential problem it may be for other people.
But we all got the news this morning that the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) reported that it is down to its last five blocks of IP version 4 addresses and that it will run out completely within the next few days.
I will pause while those readers conditioned by faux-disastrous weather reporting to rush out at the first hint of disaster to run out of the house in a panic to stock up on milk, bread and, apparently, IPv4 addresses.
The IETF published the spec for IPv6 in 1998, aiming for a scheme with an almost unlimited number of addresses, compared to the merely appalling number in IPv4.
1998. Do you even remember back that far? You didn't know what a Prius was and if someone offered you a tablet you'd look for the clip that was supposed to hold down the pad of paper.
Twelve years. With almost no progress at all on a migration everyone knew we'd eventually have to make.
In December of 2008 -- 10 years after v6 was published, a Google study more notable for its casually abusive use of language than any revelations, estimated it was being used on only about 0.086 percent of client computers attached to the Internet. Eight-tenths of one percent.
Why was it not taken up more quickly?
"General worry that turning on IPv6 can cause all sorts of brokenness!!!" according to Steinar H. Gunderson, the Google software engineer who wrote the report, but not the exclamation points.
Other "common" concerns holding up adoption:
- Tunnels that someone forgot
- Suboptimal routing
- Home routers doing evil things to AAAA queries
The real reason no one migrated is that they didn't have to.