Whatever happened to IPv6 – and will the IoT (finally) drive its adoption?
It’s funny but I’m sure we were all supposed to have abandoned IPV4 and moved to IPV6 by now. I seem to remember that in February 2011 IANA had handed out the last address block and it was game over. And yet here we are nearly four years later and IPV6 is only slowly becoming part of the IT landscape (check out the stats on the World IPv6 Launch page). What has happened is the most human of things: the workaround. Things like Carrier Grade Network Address Translation and a bit of horse trading between ARIN and service providers have given IPV4 a reprieve. But only for so long. One of the current tech buzzwords is Iot – the internet of things. These ‘things’ have been predicted (presumably by the same people who predicted the arrival of IPV6) to grow to an army of 50 billion by 2020. That’s a lot of devices,and I’m pretty certain we don’t want to be using NAT to mask them all. It will make projects like Google’s Physical Web pretty hard to do, and make any proactive contact form applications to devices far more complicated. IPV6 solves many NAT requirements, comes in small stacks written for embedded devices and offers the scalability to cope with even the wildest estimates of device proliferation. So maybe Iot, amongst all the other benefits of connected refrigerators and self-aware toilets, might finally bring IoT mainstream. Now we just have to make sure that our infrastructures are ready for it.