Corporations are migrating to IPv6 because the Internet is running out of addresses using IPv4. The free pool of unassigned IPv4 addresses expired in February, and in April the Asia Pacific region ran out of all but a few IPv4 addresses being held in reserve for startups. The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), which doles out IP addresses to network operators in North America, says it will deplete its supply of IPv4 addresses this fall.
IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support 4.3 billion devices connected directly to the Internet. IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses and can connect up a vastly greater number of devices: 2 to the 128th power. IPv6 offers the promise of faster, less-costly Internet services than the alternative, which is to extend the life of IPv4 using network address translation (NAT) devices.
Network World's survey was conducted a few weeks after the first large-scale trial of IPv6. More than 400 corporate, government and university websites supported IPv6 for 24 hours during World IPv6 Day, which was designed to identify technical roadblocks to IPv6 deployment. The trial was so successful that Google and Facebook were among the World IPv6 Day participants that promised new commercial IPv6 services.
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