IETF ready to save home network users and lose every friend they tell about it

IPv6 is vitally important, is headed to the home network and is sure death in any conversation


The Internet Engineering Task Force is considering setting up a working group that would spend a lot of time, effort and money working on a new set of secure networking standards for an audience that, if the Working Group members are lucky, will not care at all.

If they're not lucky, the potential customer base will view the whole thing as just another way to rip them off, the same way the music industry did when it made them buy all their music on EPs, then LPs, then 8-track, cassette and CDs, then gave it all away on free MP3 downloads. (Note to the RIAA: the preceding paragraph was satiric; everyone knows MP3 downloads are not free; bandwidth costs money.)

IETF is talking about forming a working group to hammer out protocols needed to run IPv6 into the home – an effort that will get less than no support from the customers who live there.

IPv6 – probably the most dichotomous major change in the computer industry – became an obsession for one segment of the geeknoscenti and an absolute yawner for everyone else.

Without IPv6 we would have run out of Internet addresses, been battered through even more security holes than we have been and would be suffering the slow decline in performance of a network grown too big for the language it uses to communicate with itself.

Without IPv6 or something like it, in relatively short order, the Internet would be toast.

There are plenty of good reasons to extend the reach of IPv6 to the home – which is becoming to the Internet what the corporate departmental LAN was a few years ago: the swamp inside which dozens of connected devices chattered across badly organized, insecure networks, trying to make contact with the more ordered world using garbled protocols, interspersed with huge flows of data in or out, often carrying a tang of malware, copyright violation and imagery with the potential to destroy careers.

Who wouldn't want to make all those pools of iniquity fully functioning members of the IPv6 Internet community?

Luckily almost all the work will be done by vendors, who will build into home-networking devices enough intelligence and idiot-proofing to let a single, technically illiterate home connect all its varied and aging devices using both IPv4 and IPv6 and link with the outside world using a range of new and obsolete security protocols, non-standard and ill-advised physical links (Xbox-to-powerline-to-WiFi-to-Ethernet-to-satellite! Cool!).

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