Internet 2.0 is about to begin
By Robert McMillen, KOIN Tech Guru
I interviewed the top people at ARIN not too long ago. This stands for the American Registry of Information Numbers. They said that in 2011 we will start the transition from TCPIP version 4 to version 6. What does this mean and how will they do it?
The original planners of the internet made several fatal mistakes when they created the way by which we communicate with each other on the internet. They didn’t plan on enough addresses, and they didn’t make the protocol secure that delivers us to the internet. We can’t really blame them, because they never expected people other than scientists and the Department of Defense to use the technology when they invented it.
We only have a total of around four billion addresses we can use on the internet. It would be like home builders not being able to build a home because we have run out of street names and numbers. The space is there, but without the address you can’t get mail to them. The new version has been out for a long time but, like the metric system, we haven’t been able to convert to it. And, like the metric system, there hasn’t been anyone pushing us there so the world has moved on to the new version without us. They can get to all of our sites, but we can’t get to theirs without some tricky manipulation that no one wants to keep up.
The solution is simple, but acting on it is not. So, ARIN will force us there. The new version 6 has trillions of IP addresses and it’s far more secure. It is the epitome of having to eat your vegetables so we can go on living a healthy internet lifestyle. ARIN said to me that we are just about out of those four billion addresses. So, starting in 2011, they will charge internet service providers a premium for using version 4 addresses, while offering discounts for using the new version 6. These costs will be passed on to you. You will be given a choice if you have a static IP address for your company’s website or email server. If you’re a home user with a dynamic address, you may not notice any difference unless you need an upgrade to your home router. If it’s two years old or newer you should be fine. It already has version 6 support built in. Version 6 is also built into Windows Vista and Windows 7, but has to be added manually to Windows XP. Smart phones, Linux, Unix, and Macintosh OSX all have version 6 support built in.
For those of you technical types, version 4 is limited to four billion addresses because it’s based on 2 to the 32nd power, while version six is 2 to the 128th power. We not only need those extra addresses because the world has more than four billion computers on hand, but we need them because we have things like smart phones, tablets, netbooks, and gaming stations that all require public addresses. We also need them because version 6 has built in protection against malware and hackers. This new version is truly the answer to many of our personal security woes that threaten our identities and our livelihoods every day. It will also protect us from rogue states that decide to start a cyber war with us.
What will version 6 bring to us? Besides more addresses and security, it will usher in what Tim O’Reilly from O’Reilly publishing has dubbed version 2.0 of the internet. This will include running your applications from data centers instead of on your computer. It’s called Cloud Computing, and the applications are called Software as a Service (SaaS). This means you won’t have to have ever expanding hard drives that you have to back up yourself, because the data will be on redundant servers in the Cloud. This is a big change, and a big challenge to people who support computers and the internet. All of the skills we learned ten years ago won’t help us in this new frontier. We will have to adapt to survive. There will be almost nothing you do that won’t be reliant on it. From the processor in your toothbrush that tells your mom you brushed your teeth properly, to the microwave downloading cooking instructions on how long to cook broccoli, there won’t be anything that isn’t capable of being on the internet in Web 2.0.
Or, you could become one of the growing number of technophobes. You could be one of those who shut everything off and live like the Amish. I may give that a try someday if my microwave or toothbrush starts talking to me.
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