There is no Plan B: why the IPv4-to-IPv6 transition will be ugly
Twenty years ago, the fastest Internet backbone links were 1.5Mbps. Today we argue whether that’s a fast enough minimum to connect home users. In 1993, 1.3 million machines were connected to the Internet. By this past summer, that number had risen to 769 million— and this only counts systems that have DNS names. The notion of a computer that is not connected to the Internet is patently absurd these days.
But all of this rapid progress is going to slow in the next few years. The internet will soon be sailing in very rough seas, as it’s about to run out of addresses, needing to be gutted and reconfigured for continued growth in the second half of the 2010s and beyond. Originally, the idea was that this upgrade would happen quietly in the background, but over the past few years, it has become clear that the change from the current Internet Protocol version 4, which is quickly running out of addresses, to the new version 6 will be quite a messy affair.