On February 3, 2011, in a ceremony in Miami, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigned the last batch of IP addresses to the Regional Internet Registries, officially depleting the global pool of completely fresh blocks of addresses. So what then?
IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is the new version of the Internet Protocol intended to succeed IPv4. IPv4 currently directs almost all Internet traffic but is unable to fulfil the demand for IP addresses. IPv6 allows up to 340 undecillion addresses (A LOT!), a massive increase from the 4.3 billion addresses that IPv4 supports, and includes several other improvements.
The most obvious advantage of IPv6 is its much larger address space than in IPv4. Other benefits are default multicasting support (sending to multiple destinations in a single session), simplified headers for easier processing by routers and enhanced security.
For the Internet to make use of the advantages of IPv6 over IPv4, most hosts on the Internet, as well as the networks connecting them, will need to deploy this protocol so the switch over may be some time off yet.
At Nimbus, we have our IPv6 allocation ready and have already implemented it on our core infrastructure. The internet as a whole may not be ready but we are!