Latest Economist Article

D2308TQ1.jpgI wrote a short, but I think interesting article about IPv6, the next-generation Internet address scheme, and why it's both critical but not urgent to transition to it. We're watching a very slow-moving accident as a train approaches a bunch of cars parked on a road, and everyone is mosying slowly to their cars, jangling their keys, to drive them off the tracks. IPv6 replaces the current IPv4 addressing systems--numbers like 192.168.1.2--with a much larger set of possible numbers. 4 billion to the fourth power numbers, in fact. This isn't because we need untold sextillions of numbers. Rather, it's because it's easier to divvy the network up into large pieces when you start with large numbers. IPv6 is backwards compatible with IPv4. You can use old addresses inside the new system, and new addresses can be hidden inside the old system. Over the next few years, we'll increasingly see IPv6 be used in broadband networks because of the sheer scale of devices they need to address uniquely. I absolutely adore the illustration for the article--in the intro to the article, I describe IP addressing like plumbing.