Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, and a founding father of the Internet, discusses the next version of the Internet, IPv6, and why we need it.
Just as phones use a system of phone numbers in order to place calls, every Internet-connected device gets a unique number known as an "IP address" that connects it to the global online network.
The problem is that the current Internet addressing system, IPv4, only has room for about 4 billion addresses -- not nearly enough for the world's people, let alone the devices that are online today and those that will be in the future: computers, phones, TVs, watches, fridges, cars, and so on. More than 4 billion devices already share addresses. As IPv4 runs out of free addresses, everyone will need to share.
Clearly the internet needs more IP addresses. How many more, exactly? Well, how about 340 trillion trillion trillion (or, 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)? That's how many addresses the internet's new "piping," IPv6, can handle. That's a number big enough to give everyone on Earth their own list of billions of IP addresses. Big enough, in other words, to offer the Internet virtually infinite room to grow, from now into the foreseeable future.
At Google we believe IPv6 is essential to the continued health and growth of the Internet and that by allowing all devices to talk to each other directly, IPv6 enables new innovative services. Replacing the Internet's plumbing will take some time, but the transition has begun. World IPv6 Launch on June 6, 2012, marks the start of a coordinated rollout by major websites and Internet service and equipment providers.
You do not need to do anything to prepare, but if you're interested in learning more and supporting IPv6, check out a few frequently asked questions.