When the Internet was invented by Al Gore (or the countless researchers in various locations around the globe who collaborated and slowly advanced networking concepts until the concept of the Internet was formed — take your pick), corresponding technology to identify computers was required. This is where IP comes in — a web protocol that created about four billion different access addresses. At the time of the introduction of IPv4, 1981, four billion seemed like more than enough. Now, however, that pool of potential identifiers is about to run out.
To help remedy this, a new version — IPv6 — is being introduced, which will allow over 340 trillion addresses. To help support IPv6, as well as make the necessary changes to our web frameworks on a large scale, various major companies will be joining together for IPv6 Day on June 8th. This includes industry leaders Bing and Google, who stopped their temper tantrums long enough to stand together on the issue.
The Google statement declared that they had “been working for years to implement the larger IPv6 format,” and reminds users how crucial IPv6 is to the future of the Web. Meanwhile, Bing’s entry stated that each move forward (including recent adaptations to IPv6 for Bing products) is “another step in the multi-year process to shepherd in a new internet era, with billions upon billions of addresses representing billions of devices and users.”
The two companies are discussing the issue now because ICANN, the group that distributes IP addresses to the various regional internet service registries for customer allocation, has assigned its final batch of IPv4 addresses. These addresses may be distributed as soon as 2012, so the need for IPv6 is clear. As an end user, there’s little you need to worry about — the vast majority of users won’t have to make any changes to bring in the new IP era.