IPv6 Address Added for Root Servers in the Root Zone

ICANN announced that IPv6 addresses were added for six of the world’s 13 root server networks (A, F, H, J, K, M) to the appropriate files and databases, the first big steps on the road to overhauling the internet’s core addressing system.This move allows for the possibility of fuller IPv6 usage of the Domain Name System (DNS). Prior to February 4, those using IPv6 had needed to retain the older IPv4 addressing system in order to be able to use domain names.With the number of IPv4 addresses rapidly being depleted as more and more devices connect to the internet that require unique Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, the need to upgrade to IPv6 was growing more and more urgent. This upgrade will grow the number of internet addresses available from 4,294,967,296 addresses to 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses.Paul Twomey, president of ICANN, told the BBC News website there was a need to start moving to IPv6. “There’s pressure for people to make the conversion to IPv6,” he said. “We’re pushing this as a major issue.””We’re down to 14% of the unallocated addresses out of the whole pool for version 4,” he told BBC News. Projections suggest that this unallocated pool will run out by 2011 at the latest.Jay Daley, technology director at Nominet, told the BBC News website many large companies were already using IPv6 as it helped ease administration on large internal networks. Cable TV suppliers such as Comcast and NTT were using it to pipe IPTV to set-top boxes in customer’s homes, he said.Take up of IPv6 should start to increase, Daley continued, as only recently regional organisations that handed out blocks of net addresses had relaxed the rules about who could get them.”People are going to have to do it as IPv4 addresses become much more difficult to get hold of,” he said.For a long while, he said, the effects on consumers would be minimal though eventually home routers may have to be upgraded or swapped so they can use the longer addresses.While people use alphanumeric characters to navigate around the web through a browser, computers use numbers. For example, a user may type bbc.co.uk into a browser, but the computer trying to reach this site will use a numerical equivalent from the internet’s master address book. It is these numerical numbers that will run out around 2011. Not only will computers connected to the internet use these additional numbers, everything from smartphones, mobile internet devices, refrigerators, washing machines, even every piece of equipment owned by the military, something the United States military has flagged for some years.However the move to IPv6 is not going to be cheap. Information Week predicts this move could cost government and companies around the world US$25.4billion between 1997 and 2025. Of this, about $1.4billion of the burden would fall on infrastructure vendors while the remaining $23.3billion would fall on users.The BBC News website has a Q&A on IP Version 6. They attempt to explain what it is and why it is important. To see their Q&A, go to news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7220116.stm.There is also an ICANN announcement available from icann.org/announcements/announcement-04feb08.htm or see below.IPv6 Address Added for Root Servers in the Root Zone
Addition enhances end-to-end connectivity for IPv6 networks
4 February 2008
ICANN today took another step along the path of deployment for the next-generation IPv6 Internet addressing system.IPv6 addresses were added for six of the world’s 13 root server networks (A, F, H, J, K, M) to the appropriate files and databases. This move allows for the possibility of fuller IPv6 usage of the Domain Name System (DNS). Prior to today, those using IPv6 had needed to retain the older IPv4 addressing system in order to be able to use domain names.”The ISP community welcomes this development as part of the continuing evolution of the public Internet,” said Tony Holmes, chair of ICANN’s Internet Service and Connectivity Provider Constituency. “IPv6 will be an essential part our future and support in the root servers is essential to the growth, stability, and reliability of the public Internet.”Name server software relies on the root servers as a key part in translating domains like “icann.org” into the routing identifiers used by computers to connect to one another. In 2007 the ICANN Security and Stability Advisory Committee concluded that ICANN should move forward with the enhancement of the DNS root service by adding IPv6 addresses for the root servers.As more and more devices connect to the Internet they require unique Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. The remaining free pool of unassigned IPv4 addresses is being depleted by the growth of the Internet. IPv6 is the addressing protocol that increases the unique IP addresses from the 4 billion available in IPv4, to more than 340 trillion trillion trillion.”Today’s addition of IPv6 addresses for the root servers enhances the end-to-end connectivity for IPv6 networks, and furthers the growth of the global interoperable Internet,” added David Conrad, ICANN’s Vice President of Research and IANA Strategy. “This is a major step forward for IPv6-only connectivity and the global migration to IPv6.”Further technical information on the move is available at iana.org/reports/root-aaaa-announcement.html

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