Tuesday, March 23, 2010

IPv6 and Internet Connectivity

What is 2128? Well, it's something that will affect your future, for sure. Hear me out. I'll keep it short and easy to understand.

The internet is exploding the amount of information creation. (Maybe the right way to say it would rather be "the internet now documents much of what we were already doing"?) There are a lot of different numbers tossed around, but a pretty safe estimation would be a current daily production of appx 2.5 exabytes. (The estimation for 2013 is 667 exabytes a day!)

Just on a small note, one exabyte equals 1 billion gigabytes. That's an awfully large number. And to exemplify; someone said that 5 exabytes is the same amount of words ever spoken by humanity.

(Don't quote me on it. No idea if that's anywhere near the truth ;-)

But let's get to the heart of the matter. One of several interesting problems is how to label or provide enough so-called IP addresses. A simplified way to explain this would be to say that "traffic on the internet flows from one IP address to another. (Read more about Internet Protocol here.)

2128 is the number of IP addresses IPv6 can generate. According to Google's Eric Schmidt 2128 is as big a number as "all the atoms of the universe". OK, maybe still an exaggeration, but his point is well taken; there are no immediate restrictions in sight as to how many IP addresses one can generate. In other words, everything we see around us can have an IP-address. In the future we will see a lot of stuff connected to the web which we never thought would be connected. So not only our cell phone, but our car, our shoes or whatever else triggers your imagination.

Imagine a world where "everything" is connected or speaks together / sends signals. Talk about energy??! It certainly is a liberating and thought provoking line of thinking, setting the stage for a whole new era of innovation. We've only seen the beginning.

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