ICANN Adds IPv6 to Root Servers

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has added IPv6 to its root servers – meaning that every object on the planet can now have its own IP address. Vinton Cerf from ICANN confirmed the news at their annual conference in Malaysia.

Every device needs a unique internet protocol address to be able to connect to the internet – this applies to computers, phones, printers, web cameras, your robot dog, everything. IPv4 is limited to only 4.3 billion addresses, and already two thirds of them have been assigned.

“This is a big, big step,” Cerf said. He’s not joking: IPv6 can potentially accommodate 2^128 (2 to the power of 128) unique addresses. To give it some scale, that would allow 100 million IP addresses per square meter of the Earth’s surface. I guess engineers really do think ahead. Though my nanobot army might use them all up fairly quickly.

IPv4 will continue to run alongside v6 for about 20 years to ensure ease of migration and stability, so don’t throw that old Ethernet card away yet.


Published by

Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?