Experts have been talking about IP addresses for several years now, because the current version of IP limits the number of such addresses to a theoretical maximum of 4.7 billion. Though the number of Internet connected devices is much higher than that already, we have not run out of addresses, mostly due to the magic of Network Address Translation, or NAT. However, the experts are now telling us that China will probably run out of IP addresses by 2010, which means that IP version 6 (IPv6) will need to be rolled out in the very near future.
Sound the alarm, IPv6 execs say (Infoworld)
Some companies are already offering various IPv6 services, and although the demand isn't high yet, those services will be needed over the next few years. The federal government has announced that the backbone of its network will support IPv6 by a June 30th self imposed deadline, but officials admit that making the change over the entire network will be extremely difficult. IPv6 probably won't increase maintenance fees, but initial rollouts could be expensive as administrators get trained, devices get moved over, and equipment gets upgraded.
The Planet to offer IPv6 hosting services (Infoworld)
Feds: We will meet June IPv6 deadline (Infoworld)
People have been talking about IPv6 for years, I even delivered training in 1999, during which I told my students that I expected the Internet to be IPv6 only by 2005. Unfortunately, now it is a more critical issue as addresses are running out, which has the potential to create a mass upgrade frenzy like the one we saw in 1999, as people prepared for the now infamous "Y2K bug." Do you have any plans to test or deploy IPv6?