January 5, 2017
The news of depletion of IPv4 addresses has been around for years. It has been predicted that IPv6 will become the major player in the hosting industry and that IPv4 will slowly but surely fade away.
Although there is some truth to this prediction, it’s nowhere near the whole story. Although IPv4 addresses have been depleted, they are not going anywhere anytime soon.
Here are some reasons why IPv4 is here to stay:
Adopting IPv6 Is Very Difficult
The general assumption is that since IPv4 addresses will become extinct, hosting service providers will start using IPv6 addresses. However, transition to IPv6 is not as simple. Internet service providers will not be willing to adopt IPv6 until it has captured at least 95% of the market, which does not seem to be happening anytime soon.
There are hundreds of millions of IPv4 devices around. A company that adopts IPv6 will have to upgrade each of their devices to IPv6 before they move on. This is a task that stakeholders are not willing to carry out yet.
Delaying IPv6 Adoption Is Profitable for Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
Another reason that IPv4 addresses will not run out is that delaying the IPv6 transition is more profitable for Internet Service Providers.
They can hoard IPv4 addresses for now and use it later on if it’s still in vogue. On the other hand, complete IPv6 adoption will render those hoarded IPv4 addresses useless.
Exhaustion of IPv4 Will Increase Its Availability
IP addresses are (incorrectly) perceived as fossil fuels.
However, it’s not as if they have to be used in time or they may get wasted. For example, if an entity decides to not consume their IP addresses, these IP addresses can be passed on to another entity. Moreover, if this other entity finds an effective way to implement IP addresses, it may not need as much of these addresses. This would mean that the hosting service will have some spare addresses that can be put to further use.
Therefore, IP addresses’ exhaustion is never really exhaustion.
The above reasons clearly demonstrate why IPv6 will not be the main player for now. As far as the future is concerned, we may be entering a brave new world of dual internet protocol. IPv4 and IPv6 will peacefully co-exist together. What this implies is that IPv4 will stay with us for quite some time.
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