February 1, 2011
An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a numerical identifier label assigned to a device such as a computer or smartphone. With this number, the device is able to communicate with other devices within the same network or in other participating networks.
There are two versions of the Internet Protocol today. IP version 4 (IPv4), and IP version 6 (IPv6). IPv4 is currently used by most network devices. Unfortunately, IPv4 is limited to approximately 4.3 billion total distinct addresses and the world is running low on IPv4 addresses. While this number may seem large, consider this:
There are close to 7 billion people on earth. If we wanted to give each person a unique IP address, we wouldn’t be able to give 1/3 of the world an IP address.
Some of the factors contributing to IPv4’s rapid exhaustion are the increased number and use of mobile devices, an increasing number of Internet users, and always on broadband Internet access connections.
At today’s rapid IPv4 consumption rate, it is expected that the entire IPv4 address space would be exhausted by the end of 2011. This means that no additional devices will be able to be added to the Internet in general without ‘tricks’, ‘hacks’ or special workarounds like network address translation.
The next generation Internet Protocol, IPv6, is a more robust addressing system that allows for far more IP addresses. It would be possible to have 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 or in plain English, approximately 340 undecillion IPv6 addresses! (Yes, we’ve never heard of undecillion either, but trust us, it’s a very very very very very very …you get the point… big number)
At Plurk, we are excited to start this transition period adopting IPv6 usage. Starting today, Plurk will be providing experimental/test access over IPv6 at http://ipv6.plurk.com/.
Plurk is also excited to participate in the World IPv6 Day. On June 8, 2011, Plurk will provide both IPv4 and IPv6 access to http://www.plurk.com/.
Finally, we wish to extend a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Years to all of our Asian language users as we spring into the year of the rabbit! Thanks so much for making Plurk a success and we look forward to serving you with an even better experience in the coming year.