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Potential Impacts on Communications from IPv4 Exhaustion & IPv6 Transition

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Citation Edit

Robert Cannon, FCC Office of Plans and Policy, Potential Impacts on Communications from IPv4 Exhaustion & IPv6 Transition (FCC Staff Working Paper 3) (Dec. 2010) (full-text).

Overview Edit

The Internet is in transition. The original address space, IPv4, is nearly exhausted; the Internet is in the progress of migrating to the new IPv6 address space.

The Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) developed in the late 1970s has the capacity for about 4 billion unique addresses. It would have been hard to imagine in the 1970s that 4 billion addresses were not going to be enough. But by the early 1990s, Internet engineers recognized that the supply of addresses was relatively limited compared to likely demand, and they set to work designing a successor to IPv4. They developed a new Internet Protocol, IPv6, with a vastly increased address space: 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses.

This paper will explore the IPv6 transition and its implications for communications policy. As with other transitions, early preparation greatly facilitates transition — and like previous transitions, some companies are well on their way with transition plans, while others may not be as advanced. This paper also seeks to identify potential issues that could cause bumps along the way. These are issues that stakeholders need to be aware of to facilitate a smooth and effective transition.

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