Our current Internet addressing system which relies on what is commonly referred to as IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) was never intended to support the number of people, and hardware (also referred to as The Internet of Things) that it currently does. Neither was it intended for the projected growth of the Internet.
This has been known for the last decade and even though the next version, IPv6, has been available for implementation for many years the only thing that seem ready to switch over is the software we all run on a daily basis.
Where the real problem lies is the hardware used by companies like our broadband suppliers, they all need to be upgraded to make us of IPv6. For the most part though they are all dragging their feet and given the dire nature of the situation – running out of IP addresses – one has to wonder why.
The fact that IPv4 address blocks are in danger of running out could actually mean an even more profitable revenue stream for broadband providers. After all as Miha Kralj, director and chief technology officer for Microsoft’s office of services, points out – scarcity means more money.
“If you can’t afford the whole IPv4 address because it’s a scarcity, your internet service provider will probably just start giving you two ports instead of the whole IPv4,” he said. “The moment you have a scarce resource, you can seriously monetise it and unless industry moves to IPv6, depletion of IPv4 will create an unfair market for internet providers so net neutrality will become an issue.”
The whole net neutrality argument aside the fact still remains why employ a more advanced and better IPv6 addressing system that is going to cost a lot of money to bring online when you can stick with the status quo and charge more for even lesser access?
It’s not like these companies haven’t known for at least ten years that this was going to happen. Even Microsoft, since Windows XP, and Apple have made sure their software could handle the change.
As much as one would like to think that the broadband providers would understand the importance of changing over to IPv6 as quickly as possible they don’t seem to be in any rush. It is not a case of the software or the hardware, things like routers, being ready – they are and have been for sometime.
Everyone can say they are IPv6 ready but is seems more and more that the broadband providers have found yet another way to hold the Internet hostage and increase their profits at the same time.