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.