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When 4 Billion Isn’t Enough

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I’m not sure if you have heard the news, the end of the internet is near. That is IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4). As a home owner should you be worried about that router and network adapter? Maybe. Let the upgrade to IPv6 begin!

The “end of the Internet”? Never! Reality is less extreme than that. IPv6 is the successor to IPv4—complicated sounding stuff that’s actually very simple.

Like your physical home address, every personal computer is assigned an address. In the world of computers, this is called an IP address, designated under the IPv4 standard as four groups of numbers; such as 192.168.1.1.

Now, here is where the number 4-billion comes into the story. With IPv4, this results in approximately 4 billion different possible number combinations and believe it or not, we are running out of unique addresses for the world to use.

Four billion was a lot when the internet standard was introduced in the early 1980’s. Now in 2011, with cell phones and other equipment getting addresses, we’re running out of them fast.

To meet the demand, IPv6 was created… a new standard which will allow many, many more IP addresses.

Right now, word is there is no need to worry about buying new equipment. Most operating systems already have the IPv6 protocol so the transition should be seamless. And with your home router and network adapters, a software or firmware update should be all you need.

Check the support website of your hardware manufacturer for specific details.

Thanks to Geek Squad agent Ismael Matos for clearing some of the questions on IPv6.

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