Blink and you’ll miss it: What is IPv6 and what does it mean for you?

When IPv6 launched today at 10am (AEST), you probably noticed no change to your internet service.


That’s as it should be.

In fact, you might be surprised to find out that, for all the hype around the launch, IPv6 – Internet Protocol version 6 – is pretty boring if you’re not a tech head.

The reason for switching to IPv6 is simple – the internet is running out of IP addresses.

An IP address is like a phone number for your computer.

Each device that connects to the internet needs one. Up until now we’ve been using IPv4, which had 4.3 trillion addresses. But we’ve run out as increasingly more people and more devices plug in to the World Wide Web.

IPv6 will solve the problem indefinitely by creating another 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses.

Regular internet users will notice absolutely no difference in their service as internet service providers will switch them over automatically.

But what affect will this changeover have on your business?

Business writer and blogger, Paul Wallbank, told SmartCompany there shouldn’t be any impact, in the short term at least.

“Businesses don’t have to do anything for the moment. What will happen is that as ISPs move to IPv6 you might have to buy a new modem, but that’s in the future,” he says.

So, for now, as telecommunications providers and manufacturers slowly change over to the new system, there’s nothing you need to do.

Wallbank says businesses will be told when to change their hardware, which is unlikely to be for a few years.

“When your internet provider tells you that they’re switching over, that’s the time to be proactive.”

Wallbank also feels that the topic has been over-hyped.

“There’s always some vendor who wants to drive fear and drive up sales,” he says.


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