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Europe needs to move to IPv6

And the time is now
Thu Dec 01 2011, 15:42

THE INTERNET IS DOOMED until European businesses and organisations begin to move towards IPv6, according to Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda.

Kroes was speaking at the German IPv6 summit, and naturally IPv6 and moves towards it were the theme of her speech.

"We are starting to see very close ahead of us the consequences if we don't make the switch to IPv6," she warned, presumably to a very receptive audience.

Kroes said that the internet is growing in use, which we have heard before, and warned that we will soon run out of space, and again this is something that we have heard before.

"More people online; more ways of getting online; more applications and devices online. All these developments put greater demands on our networks, and require ever higher performance from them," she said.

"The Internet cannot adjust to these developments, cannot continue to grow and function properly, without sufficient IP addresses."

Pretty scary stuff if you were there, by the sounds of it, and attendees were plunged into a nightmarish vision of a cramped internet.

"Imagine for a moment that no more IP addresses were available; imagine how that would cramp the development of this global resource," she said. "Well, if we don't make the change to IPv6, you may not have to imagine for very long: in Europe, total depletion of IPv4 addresses is just around the corner. The solution is to have a larger address space, now. And that means IPv6!"

Moving on to IPv6 is important for the EC and is a priority of its Digital Agenda plans for increasing local internet adoption and use. Although the EC has backed the protocol since 2002, and supports it, uptake elsewhere remains, "slow, too slow," she added.

"IPv6 remains an important building block, for two reasons," said Kroes. "The IPv4 address space is exhausted and this is impeding the growth and future development of the Internet. Many innovations fail to reach their potential due to the complexity of managing shortages. This is a deadlock situation."

Moving on to IPv6 will extend address space from the "mere" 4 billion addresses we have now to over 300 trillion trillion trillion, she added, meaning that individuals could have as many personal IP addresses as they want, or as many as there are grains of sand in the world.

"We need to act now. The longer we wait, the more it will cost us. We need to convince those most concerned to think differently, and act for the future... We must make this transition," she added.

"The alternative is that the Internet will begin to suffer; and innovation and economic growth will feel the consequences. These are not things we can afford at the moment," she concluded. µ


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