For Immediate Release
27 July 2010
As Internet runs out of IPv4 addresses, web-enabled businesses must act now
While most home users can rely on their ISPs to take action, unprepared web-enabled businesses are at risk
Chantilly, VA – The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), a nonprofit association that manages the distribution of Internet number resources, today again formally called upon North American businesses to take the necessary steps to assure IPv6 adoption by their organizations, while clarifying a few issues around the transition.
“If you’re a home user, in all likelihood you don’t need to take a specific action at this time, but if you run a business that provides services over the Internet, for example via a website, you need take a very close look at the IPv4/IPv6 issue,” said John Curran, president and CEO of ARIN. “This also urgently affects Internet-based businesses, i.e. content providers, and those developing Internet-enabled applications or devices. With only 6.25% of IPv4 addresses still available, using IPv6 to connect users to the Internet is imminent. The good news is that it’s not very difficult or costly to prepare your business for this change, but it does require preparation.”
While most major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have made the necessary preparations for IPv6, many web-enabled businesses have so far failed to take the required steps to assure they will be able to communicate and conduct e-commerce with partners and consumers after the impending transition. ARIN provides a transition guide for businesses as well as a host of other resources educating on the IPv4 to IPv6 transition, available at http://www.teamarin.net.
Some basics key to understanding the transition:
- An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a number that identifies a device on a computer network and is used to move information on the Internet. An example of an IP address is 126.96.36.199. Every device directly connected to the Internet must have a unique IP address, including every computer, cellular telephone, gaming console, and even many new appliances.
- Internet Protocol defines how computers communicate over a network. IP version 4 (IPv4), the currently prevalent version conceived in 1981, contains just over four billion unique IP addresses – not enough to keep up with current and future demand for addresses. IPv6 is a newer numbering system that provides an immensely larger address pool than IPv4, among other features.
Recent news coverage regarding the waning pool of addresses has renewed some common misconceptions around the basics of IP addressing. For clarification:
- Home users do not need to be concerned; their ISPs have most likely made the necessary changes.
- IPv6 will not raise compatibility issues for web users with old computers.
- IPv6 will not create speed or security issues; in fact, most experts say it will improve both.
- Consumers will not have to purchase new hardware. Nearly all major manufacturers’ routers, computers, even wireless phones produced in the last several years are IPv6 capable – it just needs to be assured they are configured properly by each business. Some businesses with very old equipment may need to replace it with IPv6-enabled devices.
- The Internet is not running out of domain names. A domain name, such as www.arin.net, maps to a specific IP address like 188.8.131.52. This is an addressing system change that has nothing to do with the actual URLs that consumers type in to access web pages.
- The Internet will not “crash” if the changes aren’t uniformly made. However, businesses will have limited connectivity to new users connected via IPv6 and may experience performance issues with any services (such as audio and video streaming) that are not IPv6 enabled.
- The immense size of the IPv6 address pool makes it extremely unlikely that we will ever need another version of Internet addressing.
“There is no question that IPv6 is not only the future, but very quickly becoming the present,” added Curran. “With less than a year left until we’ve exhausted the pool of IPv4 addresses, businesses should do the responsible thing for their own organizations and the Internet community at large, and start preparations now for making their websites IPv6 reachable.”
About the American Registry for Internet Numbers
ARIN is the nonprofit corporation that manages the distribution of Internet number resources – IPv4, IPv6, and Autonomous System numbers – in its service region, which includes Canada, many Caribbean and North Atlantic islands, and the United States. More information on IPv6 adoption is available at http://www.getipv6.info/ and http://www.arin.net.