A few hours ago, a whole new Internet was switched on.The old Internet is almost out of room. The new Internet is vastly bigger. It’s ready for trillions and trillions more computers, devices, Web sites and the like.
Confused? Here’s how it works: In order to be on the Internet, a device or Web site needs an address. The old Internet had about 4.3 billion IP addresses. That’s not a lot. There are more mobile phones today in use than that. The new Internet has 40 trillion trillion trillion (or, 340,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000)!
This new Internet is known as Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) and the old Internet is IPv4. (IPv5 got scrapped for IPv6).
Here’s an example of what an old Internet address looked like: 192.0.2.1. Here’s an example of a new IPv6 address:
2001:0db8: 85a3:0000:0000: 8a2e:0370:7334.
Network engineers have been working on this for years and years. So you won’t really notice anything different as they slowly switch everything from the old Internet to the new Internet, which will take a couple of years. BUT if you are going to sign up for a new ISP, or buy a new home router or launch a new Web-based business, make sure it works with IPv6. Even though the new Internet is turned on, not every network provider has gotten its IPv6 act together yet.
Over time, this new Internet will have a profound effect on our lives as all kinds of devices (things we can’t even imagine) get connected to the Internet, like every appliance in your home, medical sensors and much more.
Below the Father of the Internet, Vint Cerf explains the new Internet. Cerf now works for Google.