National broadband provider iiNet has told customers not to worry about the impending shortage of IPv4 internet addresses, noting that it was currently running trials with the next version 6 of the Internet Protocol, and that it expected to start including portions of its customer base soon.
The numbers of IPv4 addresses available to ISPs — and to their customers — are rapidly dwindling, as the number of devices connected to the Internet proliferates. The next standard, IPv6, is being experimented with by ISPs around Australia and the globe, although few have started pushing the change out to customers as yet.
“iiNet have been running a number of in-house trials using IPv6 with our systems,” wrote Matt Hutchinson, from the ISP’s operations team. “It is expected that these trials will be expanded to include selected portions of our customer base within the next few months. Meanwhile our supply of IPv4 addresses will last us for a while yet so we’ll be going ahead as planned with a dual-stack approach (customers will be assigned both an IPv4 and IPv6 address).”
In general, Hutchinson wrote, the ‘shortage’ of addresses wasn’t as dramatic as some portions of the media were making out.
“iiNet has enough IPv4 addresses to see its customers into the foreseeable future,” he wrote. “When the time comes, and IPv4 becomes a thing of the past, transition technology will be available to ensure no one’s Internet experience is affected in anyway.”
“In fact, by that point in time, it’s likely that most of the Internet will be native to IPv6, so we won’t really need transitional technology – but it’ll be there just in case. With a number of large websites/content providers pushing forward to get their content IPv6-ready by June 8 this year (World IPV6 Day), it is hoped the extra attention will result in increased interest from the greater internet community.”
The news comes as other ISPs around Australia have also recently flagged plans to shift to IPv6 in 2011.
In Ferbuary, Internode, for example, said it would progressively move its existing national IPv6 trial to a full production service in 2011 in order to face the depletion of the 32-bit IPv4 address space, predicted for the next few months. All of the ISP’s routers being sold to customers support IPv6, and both kinds of IP addresses will be assigned to customers for the time being.
“We’ve ensured our customers have the best of both worlds, so they don’t need to worry about this issue during the transition period. Internode customers won’t run out of IP addresses,” said Internode managing director Simon Hackett at the time.
Image credit: iiNet