Monday, February 17, 2014

What is IPv8?

An article on SlashDot about the IPv4 'crisis' reminded of something else: what ever happened to IPv8 and IPv9.

For the non-techies you're wondering what is IPv4?  An IP address is like having a world wide ID card for buy food.  That card has enough room for 7 numbers (0 - 9,999,999).  We'll call this IPv4.  You need that card to buy food. Lets say we easily have enough numbers so everyone in the world has unique card.

But dogs and cats eat food too, we HAVE to count them now as well! So we need cards for them as well.  Uh oh, we have way more dogs, cats, gold fish, ect. then people.  We're running out of number!  So what do we do?

We make a new system that has more numbers and now uses letters as well.  We'll call that IPv6.  Wait, all our old system can't deal with bigger numbers and letters. That means we have to start all over again!  It took us 50 years to build the first system.

So you get the idea of where the internet is heading.  Change the animals to tablets, smart TV's, and even internet enabled crock pots and you can see where things are going. We're getting close to running out of numbers.

There are work arounds like NAT.  NAT works by giving a number to a neighborhood and having a runner take orders. The runner remembers who asked for a red apple, gets the apple, and gives the apple to them.  But NAT has issue like being slow. Also someone in your neighborhood ALWAYS knows what you're eating or mix up your order with your neighbors.

IPv6 is a much better and faster way to do things on the internet but it doesn't work well with old internet. The old internet can't talk back to it easily eitehr.  Also almost every electronic device that will talks on IPv6 has to be upgraded, replaced, or you have to but a proxy device to keep something that is wearing out working. That's expensive.

Now I know what IPv6 is, what's IPv8 and IPv9?  IPv8 was a replacement for IPv4 just like IPv6.  IPv8 was also supposed to work more like IPv4 for easier upgrades and have tons more numbers than IPv6.  So where is it?

IPv6 was designed but a very small group so that could get things going faster.  IPv8 what open to whole world and got lost the conversation.  IPv9 was a similar idea but it was being made by the Peoples Republic of China. Its seems to have been more of a PR stunt then anything.  No code or specs has ever been released for IPv9 to my knowledge.

I hear IPv8 is used by spies?  I thought you said it never got off the ground?  You know I change my name to Barrack Obama but that doesn't make me the president.  Someone else started a P2P system for sending secret messages and called it IPv8 as well.

Are there any other IPv... something out there.  Sure but they're all in the shape of IPv8.

Will we ever see IPv6 running?  If you have a smart phone you already have.  Most cell phone companies use IPv6 on their phones and use NAT to talk to old IPv4 that our computers use now.  I guessing in about 4-6 years the real IPv4 crisis is going to hit us.  Then we'll see the big change over to IPv6 happen.

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