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Happy World IPv6 Day – Wait, What the Heck is IPv6? A Lot of Digits, That’s For Sure!

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 by

Today, June 8th, is World IPv6 Day. What does that mean exactly? Well, the internet is running out of IPv4 addresses and today, some companies around the world are testing out their sites using IPv6, a networking protocol that aims to replace IPv4 in the coming years. So, today is the day to raise awareness of IPv6. It’s NOT a transition day – the transition will take years to accomplish – it IS a time to evaluate your IPv6-readiness on your sites, applications, hardware, software or anything that uses IP addressing protocols.

HappyIPv6day_sm

IPv4 Networking Protocol

IPv4 is a networking address space that most of us should be familiar with. It is a numeric, 32-bit only, and takes the form of XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX (so like 192.168.100.000). There is a physical limitation to the number of IPv4 addresses you can have, 2^32 or 4,294,967,296 to be exact, and we are running out pretty quickly. Every website has an IP address bound to it. We, as consumers, are used to typing in domain names (like www.GoGrid.com). But what happens is that the domain name is translated into an IPv4 address (like 216.93.160.144). Think of IP addresses like an “internet phone number”. Nowadays, we click on a name (e.g., a domain name) to call someone. In the past, we dialed a phone number (e.g., an IP address).

Remember, not all of those combinations can be used as some are reserved:

Reserved address blocks
CIDR address block Description Reference
0.0.0.0/8 Current network (only valid as source address) RFC 1700
10.0.0.0/8 Private network RFC 1918
127.0.0.0/8 Loopback RFC 5735
169.254.0.0/16 Link-Local RFC 3927
172.16.0.0/12 Private network RFC 1918
192.0.0.0/24 Reserved (IANA) RFC 5735
192.0.2.0/24 TEST-NET-1, Documentation and example code RFC 5735
192.88.99.0/24 IPv6 to IPv4 relay RFC 3068
192.168.0.0/16 Private network RFC 1918
198.18.0.0/15 Network benchmark tests RFC 2544
198.51.100.0/24 TEST-NET-2, Documentation and examples RFC 5737
203.0.113.0/24 TEST-NET-3, Documentation and examples RFC 5737
224.0.0.0/4 Multicasts (former Class D network) RFC 3171
240.0.0.0/4 Reserved (former Class E network) RFC 1700
255.255.255.255 Broadcast RFC 919

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