Byron Holland is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). View bio
June 8, 2011 is World IPv6 Day. Organizations around the world are participating in this one-day event to raise awareness of the importance of adopting IPv6.
I’m proud to announce that CIRA will participate in World IPv6 Day by making our corporate website IPv6 ready. This is a public step toward making all of our systems IPv6 ready. We’ll also be installing a widget on our site that will let you know if you are capable of accessing our website via IPv6. If you aren’t able, check out this information page from the Internet Society.
Why is this important?
In the early days, when the ‘Internet pioneers’ were developing the naming and numbering systems, they had no idea that there would be such a demand for Internet addresses. The system that was established and is still in use today, IPv4, is 32-bit. This means there are a finite number of addresses – around 4.3 billion addresses – in the Internet’s address-numbering system.
Vint Cerf said it well at a conference in Australia this past January:
“I am a little embarrassed about that because I was the guy who decided that 32-bit was enough for the Internet experiment. My only defence is that that choice was made in 1977, and I thought it was an experiment.
I’m sure at the time, people like Vint Cerf likely thought this would be a seemingly infinite supply. It doesn’t seem that way anymore. In February, ICANN allocated the final blocks of IPv4 addresses.
So what does this mean? Let me put it this way – it’s kind of like when your city runs out of seven digit phone number and you have to start dialling the area code first.
We need to add the area code to Internet addresses, and that’s kind of what IPv6, the newest protocol, does. It provides exponentially more addresses – approximately 340 undecillion or 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 addresses, in fact.
Without IPv6, the Internet will not be able to continue to expand. It will also be difficult to incorporate new users, applications and devices, and seriously limit access for those who don’t adopt it.
At CIRA, we believe that adopting IPv6 is an important thing for Canadian organizations to do. By having an IPv6 ready website, we are taking a lead role in Canada with regard to IPv6 adoption. I’d like to point out two things:
1. We won’t be taking the IPv6 ready CIRA website down after World IPv6 Day. From June 8 onwards, you will be able to access our website via IPv6 and IPv4.
2. On June 8, CIRA will be the only IPv6 customer with our Canadian Internet service provider.
If you want to know more about IPv6, there are plenty of resources available.