Will You Be Getting a New-Looking IP Address Soon?
As reported in several articles first seen here on WhatIsMyIPAddress.com, the world ran out of IP addresses sometime in the fall of 2015.
But, as you've probably noticed, your computer hasn't crashed, you can still go on the Internet and your trusty regular IP address is probably working just fine.
- You can go to our home page to check your current IP address.
- You can go here to read more articles on IPv6.
But in a nutshell, here's what happened:
From the beginning of the Internet, we all went online using an IP address provided by the company that was running the network you happened to be on at that moment. The IP address format was technically known as IPv4 and, when it was rolled out back in the 1980s, an enormous supply of IP address blocks for Internet Service Providers and others was supposed to last forever.
It didn't—because no one anticipated the huge demand for IP addresses not only for computers, but for all the other devices that could be hooked up to a network: printers, scanners, home security systems, etc.
Thankfully, an entirely new format of IP addressing was waiting in the wings to save the day. It's known as IPv6 (version 6) and this time around (we're told) there will be more than enough IP addresses for everyone.
So, you would expect that your Internet Service Provider, or the large mega-corporation you work for, is up to speed on all of this and primed to start supplying us with IPv6 addresses. You'd be wrong, at least at this point in time, because there are many ISPs that have either not switched to IPv6 or have just begun to implement it. Should you have any concerns?
There's numbers. There's dollars.
There are a few reasons ISPs and everyone else were slow to make a full transition to IPv6, even though they all knew the day was coming when IPv4 would start making its exit:
For one, most everyone knew there wasn't a "shutdown" deadline coming that would be the end of IPv4 address connections.
- The issue wasn't that IPv4 was going to stop working or disappear—it was that large allotments (in the millions) of NEW IPv4 addresses would no longer be available when an ISP or corporation needed them.
- The cost of making the switch to IPv6, let alone the coordination of it, on a grand scale would likely have been a cost nightmare.
Remember—the TV industry took several years to gradually phase out analog signals.
It's about money.
It all comes down to money and the incredible expenses involved in doing it all at once.
- Replacing the infrastructure and the countless routers, computers and protocols configured to handle IPv6 would be costly.
- Assembling a large team to pull it off to meet some internally imposed deadline would have been enormous as well. (There was never a hard-and-fast deadline from anyone on the issue.)
With no pressure to make the switch to IPv6 overnight, ISPs and others simply decided to phase it in gradually over time...along with everyone else.
In England (they face the same problem over there), one ISP called BST took the early initiative of putting a new IPv6 infrastructure in place. Toward the last quarter of 2015, they were still rolling it out. That may explain why other ISPs are playing it safe and taking small steps...as well as taking advantage of the fact that IPv4 and IPv6 can coexist (with some high-tech tinkering) in the same world. You can imagine the management team wondering why they should even bother to take on a full-switch effort and "waste" so much of the technology budget on it.
Is a new IPv6 address headed your way?
The answer is...probably not for a while, and that's not really anything you need to worry about.
ISPs are playing it coy...and smart. They're trying to manage the eventual switch to IPv6 in the most cost-efficient and least stress-inducing way. So even if they haven't switched you over to the IPv6 addressing format, it doesn't mean they don't know what's going on or that one day you'll be left out in the Internet wilderness with no IP address.
Remember—you're one of their millions of customers and they can't afford to lose you. When switching to IPv6 becomes a customer retention issue that must be addressed, you can be assured they'll have an IPv6 address for you!