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Cyberspace Running Out Of Room: Is IPv6 The Answer?

The growing popularity of smartphones, IPTV and other gadgets connecting to the Internet is eating up real estate on the net, and soon techies can expect cyberspace to run out of room, according to a Frost & Sullivan analyst briefing Thursday.

Experts say today's Internet protocol version 4 (IPv4) also limits services of multimedia content and data communication, including mobile IP, P2P and video calls. With new mobile IPv6, telecommunication providers can easily roll out custom services from movies to ring tones to television.

By 2012 about 17 billion devices will connect to the Internet, estimates Research firm IDC Corp. Frost & Sullivan's principal analyst for carrier infrastructure Sam Masud agrees. "2012, that's when we estimate the world will be out of IPv4 addresses," he said. "Between 15 and 20 years isn't exaggerating."

The IPv4 Internet has room for 4.3 billion addresses. About one-third are already in use, and more than another third are spoken for. IPv6 provides 2^128 possible addresses. Compared with IPv4's 32bits, IPv6's address reads 128 bits long. Imagine the number looking something like this – 360,382,386,120,984,643,363,377,707,131,268,210,929.

Although few have made the move, challenging companies migrating to IPv6 are migrating application, network management and performance, and educating staff to make the transition.

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