Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

A Humorous Introduction To IPv6 288

zollman writes "Jonathan Richards, in the London times, explains how the introduction of IPv6 will change the Internet. From the article: 'As use [of the Internet] grew, it became clear that the old protocol, IPv4, wasn't big enough, so a new one was created using 32-bit numbers. That increased the number of available addresses to 340 undecillion, 282 decillion, 366 nonillion, 920 octillion, 938 septillion -- enough for the foreseeable future.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

A Humorous Introduction To IPv6

Comments Filter:
  • Fuzzy Math (Score:2, Insightful)

    I think the author doesn't really understand binary math.

    They gave each address a "16-bit" number, which meant that the total number of available addresses worked out at about four billion (2 to the power of 32).
    • Quotation Fingers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by XanC ( 644172 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @09:11PM (#15726305)
      Always weird to see what journalists feel aren't real words and need to be quoted. These "16-bit" "addresses" allow "packets" to "reach" their "destinations".
      • by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Saturday July 15, 2006 @09:15PM (#15726320) Journal
        frickin' "laser" beams
      • Re:Quotation Fingers (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ThinkingInBinary ( 899485 ) <thinkinginbinaryNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday July 15, 2006 @10:23PM (#15726513) Homepage

        This really pisses me off. I'm so sick of reading newspaper articles that read something like this:

        YoYoDyne, Inc. has created a new revolutionary product, a so-called "widget", which "frobs" and "fiddles" with so-called "gizmos".

        ...where all of the quoted terms are legitimate technical terms. If I turned the tables, and wrote a letter to the editor, saying:

        I found the "article" published in the so-called "News" section of your "newspaper" to be quite interesting.

        ...you know that they would be annoyed, because the quotes and the "so-called" make it sound like the term is not really what it's called, and that it's not really true. If writers are concerned that a reader doesn't know a term, there's no point in putting it in quotes to reassure the dumb reader that they're not dumb. It's much more helpful to write something like this:

        YoYoDyne, Inc. has created a new revolutionary product, a widget (a small gadget used to modify gizmos) which frobs (gently adjusts) and fiddles (adjusts more aggressively) with gizmos (common elements of world-domination machines).

        Sure, it's a little choppier, but good writers can weave things together better (I could if I weren't lazy and I wasn't posting on Slashdot), and this form provides much more knowledge. Frankly, reporters shouldn't be writing about stuff they really have no clue about. I think if someone's going to be writing about internet addresses, it isn't much to ask that someone explain the rudiments of bits and bytes and binary numbers to them before they run off and misinform the public.

      • Re:Quotation Fingers (Score:2, Informative)

        by spiffyman ( 949476 )
        Generally, copy editors (and page designers in print) have the final say on typographical elements. Even if the journalist knows what he/she is talking about, the copy editors may not and may force quotation marks where they're unnecessary.

        Of course, the fact remains that copy editors are also often fact-checkers. They should know better.
    • Re:Fuzzy Math (Score:5, Informative)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @09:13PM (#15726314) Homepage
      He just doesn't have his facts straight at all. IPV4 uses 32 bit addresses, which gives you about 4 billion addresses. IPV6 on the other hand uses 128 bit addresses (please correct me if i'm wrong), which gives you an unbelievably large number of addresses, which will be able to address every atom in the universe with it's own IP address. This time we aren't running out. Of course, you could assign multiple addresses to each machine, and get rid of the need for ports...
      • He was *correct about the total number of addresses, but ipv4 is 23 bit numbers and v6 is 128 bit.

        *note: I didn't check the actual value of 2^128 but 4 billion is about right for 2^32
      • Re:Fuzzy Math (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mark-t ( 151149 )

        IPV6 on the other hand uses 128 bit addresses ... which will be able to address every atom in the universe with it's own IP address

        Nope.

        Not even close.

        2 to the power of 128 is approximately 10 to the power of 38.

        There are, however, over 10 to the power of a hundred atoms in the universe.

        A 1 followed by 38 zeros is, iirc, approximately the same order of magnitude as the number of molecules in the earth's crust.

        • Re:Fuzzy Math (Score:5, Insightful)

          by skraps ( 650379 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @10:33PM (#15726543)
          Here [wikipedia.org] are some interesting order-of-magnitude comparisons.
        • It does, however, give us nearly enough addresses to address every atom which could be packed within the typical timeout-lightspeed volume, which seems sufficient (and since we'd have collapsed into a one heck of a black hole in that situation, I'm guessing we'd have more serious worries than network address exhaustion).
      • ...will be able to address every atom in the universe with it's own IP address...
        ...until we start using them as shorthand for combinations of IP addresses, say. It really doesn't take much imagination to think of ways even 2^128 addresses could someday run out.

        But yeah, it's probably good enough for now.
      • I actually did the math for that concept of every atom in the universe. While it was heavy on estimates (since I don't think we know the mass of the sun down to the AMU), I seem to remember having come up with a number that wouldn't have even nearly covered every atom in our solar system (in fact, I don't think it would have even covered the sun). And we sure as hell aren't the only solar system in the universe. IPv8 perhaps. Still, I think we'll be covered for at least the next three humanities.
  • IPv6 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sinistah ( 950333 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @09:08PM (#15726296)
    IPv6 uses 128 bit addresses. IPv4 uses 32 bit addresses.
    • Re:IPv6 (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Darkness ( 33231 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @10:01PM (#15726448) Homepage
      IPv6 uses 128 bit addresses. IPv4 uses 32 bit addresses.

      I thought the same thing at first. After re-reading the summary I concluded that when they said 32 bit numbers they meant 32bit.32bit.32bit.32bit (128 bits) for ipv6 to help explain it to the laymen who is used to the 8bit.8bit.8bit.8bit representation of ipv4.

      Of course, those of us familiar with ipv6 addresses realize they aren't represented that way but as :: delimeted hex. ;-)
  • Funny? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Umbral Blot ( 737704 )
    Um, I guess it as somewhat informative (if you didn't you about IPv6 already, if you didn't you should leave /. right now). I don't see how it was funny though. Am I missing something obvious?
  • This is humorous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Caspian ( 99221 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @09:09PM (#15726299)
    I somehow forgot to laugh.
    • You forget the comedy value of large numbers, surely you've heard the old joke 324,335,000,543,735,245,007,314?

      Cracks me up every time that one.
  • by zollman ( 697 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @09:09PM (#15726301) Homepage
    While the article points out the benefits of using these new '32-bit numbers', it does ignore the obvious drawbacks -- namely, they will be twice as fast to clog up the tubes [slashdot.org] that make the Internet work.
    • If doubling your address size makes you clog up the tubes twice as fast you should seriously consider modifying what you're sending across the network. Try including some data packets in with the pings, for instance.
    • Does this mean that the horses will still be able to get through OK? I know that the poker chips clog it up right now, and that worries me because I keep having to put lotto balls down the tubes to clear them out. Arg!
    • actually, i'd like to correct you on that.

      with today's fiber optic backbones the size difference of 128 bit packets over the legacy 16-bit packets in insignifigant. you do run into some issues with 'going overseas' where the undersea pipes can clog up sometimes, still... largeer packets are more an issue with legacy hardware than anything. modern hardware has the bandwith to handle it :)
    • Hopefully that should not be an issue for normal activity.

      But I'm worried when someone (or their office staff) are crazy enough to send a whole Internet through, since it always takes forever and it will clog up the tubes for everyone else too.

      We should keep the Senate away from the Internets or make them pay their due for those tubes.

      This abuse of sending Internets for free around has to stop, specially the big ones. I sent an email yesterday that has not arrived, and I bet it was because someone sent one
  • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @09:13PM (#15726315)
    Does IPv6 change the internets tubes into dump trucks though?
  • 32-bits? Uhhh... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mattintosh ( 758112 )
    FTA:

    When the internet was developed in the 1980s, programmers had no idea how big it would become. They gave each address a "16-bit" number, which meant that the total number of available addresses worked out at about four billion (2 to the power of 32).

    But as use grew, it became clear that the old protocol, IPv4, wasn't big enough, so a new one was written based on "32-bit numbers". That increased the number of available addresses to 340 undecillion, 282 decillion, 366 nonillion, 920 octillion, 938 septill

    • Argh. I need to build more tubes in my brain. 4 hex digits is only 16 bits. That makes IPv6 addresses 128 bits. D'oh!

      And here I went and looked and tried to do research, and all it did was screw with my head. I knew they were 128, and went and looked at my network config and somehow figured 256.
    • IPv6 uses 256-bit numbers broken into 32-bit chunks.

      If you check, I think you'll find that IPV6 uses 128-bit addresses, and 16-bit "chunks".

      Next thing you know, this guy will be telling us they're building more tubes.

      Considering that your understanding of IPV6 is about as accurate as his of IPV4, I was going to write some snarky comment. But I think I'll just leave this as is. :o)
    • ### IPv6 uses 256-bit numbers broken into 32-bit chunks.

      rfc4291 thinks it are 128bit...
  • uhh (Score:2, Funny)

    I have no idea what those numbers mean.
  • humor (Score:5, Funny)

    by Silon ( 646985 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @09:21PM (#15726337)
    It's funny. Laugh.
    It isn't. No.
  • From http://playground.sun.com/ipv6/ipng-implementation s.html [sun.com]:

    Linux starts IPv6 implementation on verswion 2.1.8. Current 2.2.x and 2.4.x series supports IPv6 in a stable manner. In addition to the kernel maintainers, the USAGI project is working on someextension for production quality.

    From the kernel.org FTP:
    linux-2.1.8.tar.gz 6032 KB 11/09/1996 12:00:00 AM

    • Because they didn't care? They ruled the desktop (where pretty much no one needs IPV6), and only some servers needed IPV6 (where microsoft didn't feel a need to dominate until relatively recently, and even so, with such a small % needing IPV6, there were many other areas where their efforts would be better spent).
  • London Times? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Neeex ( 768224 )
    Forget the incorrect numbers of bits and the lack of humour, I'm more worried by the submitter's reference to the "London times": there's no such thing. The newspaper is called "The Times". Where did the "London" come from? It's a national newspaper, so calling it "British Times" would be less wrong...
    • A Google search for "London Times" brings up timesonline.co.uk as the first link... so it knows what the London Times is... why don't you?
      • Re:London Times? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
        Exactly. If you live in New York and someone mentions "The Times" they assume you're talking about the New York Times. Same thing goes for LA. That's why you have toe specify London when talking about The Times (from London) because otherwise nobody will know which one you're talking about.
    • Re:London Times? (Score:3, Informative)

      by soliptic ( 665417 )
      You're right, however calling it the "London Times" when discussed in an international context, to distinguish it from the many other papers of the same name, is pretty common practice. I've seen it loads of times before, it's some sort of quasi-standard I think.

      I'm a Brit, and I can get narked when people on slashdot or elsewhere make stupid/erroneous statements about British things, but this isn't one of them...
  • More stuff to clog those tubes [wired.com]. Better get that two-tiered internet going quick. Otherwise, we will have to dump this stuff [epinions.com] into our modems!
  • I for one.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @09:47PM (#15726399)
    I for one welcome our new 128 bit overlords.
  • Wait a sec. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PatTheGreat ( 956344 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @09:49PM (#15726407) Homepage

    The very last thing in the article is "8 The average age at which a child gets a mobile phone in Britain."

    Now, it seems to me that not every kid out there gets a mobile phone. Shouldn't this push average WAY up? I can't believe that eight year olds need cell phones. Who are they calling? Why are they calling? What is wrong with today's society?

    Dang whippersnappers. How can I be 18 and feel old and set in my ways? It just ain't right.

    • The average age at which a child gets a mobile phone in Britain.

      So the average can't go up all that far, by definition.

      Gotta agree the figure seems suspect all the same, though. For that to be true, you'd need as many four year olds getting phones as 12 year olds, etc.

      As for who they're calling - probably nobody, probably mainly texting!

      And yes, I too feel old and "that just isn't right" ("get off my lawn") when I see things like that. I didn't get internet til I was about 16 and didn't get a mo

    • Things sure have changed. When I was 8, I'm not sure if I even knew how to properly operate a telephone. And I grew up in the 80s. It's not because I was stupid, but because I didn't have anybody to call. There was more than enough kids to play with in my neighbourhood, and when you wanted to see them you just walked over to their house and knocked on the door. I remember getting a phone (not my own line, just a phone) in my room when I was 13, and I thought even that was a little unnecessary. After al
    • 18 here as well, and very disapointed in today's youth. Who needs a cellphone? I rarely use the regular phone as it is. Just drive to my friends' and "steal" them =P And back in my day we didn't have fancy shmancy graphics. I remember growing up with an old 12" amber monitor and playing games just fine. The day we got our 14" color monitor, I remember being so excited just to see an ASCII border (it surrounded the options in this menu program we had) rendered in this stunning purple. I can still reme
  • by macemoneta ( 154740 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @10:14PM (#15726490) Homepage
    Every mobile device is individially addressable right now by its number and network (12223334444@serviceprovider.com) - effectively a single IP address. Since this is also its voice number, it's easy to remember and convenient. We won't be running out at anytime soon (10 billion mobiles per service provider capacity).

    Each IP address can also directly address 64K computers, via the existing port structure. IP addresses can also be reused (over and over) on intranets and subnets, via NAT. Yes, it's a terrible thing - but we've already solved that problem, and the solution is in use (and works) worldwide.

    Issues like bandwidth control and management are only symptoms of limited bandwidth. Every day that issue will become less and less of a problem (at the endpoints). Core network technologies are expanding bandwidth at an incredible rate. In 1995, core networks used T1 lines! Now, they are deploying OC-768. The bandwidth controls will be meaningless long before a conversion to IPV6 could be completed.

    All in all, if IPV6 were being deployed in the early 1990's it might have made sense to avoid some of the pain we went through. Now, its like the pre-IP protocol stacks - its time has passed.
    • how does one telnet to 12223334444@serviceprovider.com? that's not any sort of endpoint address. as the intelligence of mobile devices continues to grow, the mindset you seem to be trapped in for addressing them will become less and less tenable (it's already a royal pain; buy me lunch some time and i'll tell you all about the problems we've had building a mixed-communication-mode system trying to talk to mobiles).
      NAT works remarkably well for a significant number of cases. but it's no magic bullet. SRV rec
    • Each IP address can also directly address 64K computers, via the existing port structure

      You probably meant to say that each IP address can provide 64K different services. But they all must be on one host. You can't assign the same IP address to both your toaster and your refrigerator, unless you have a NAT. And even then behind the NAT they will have different addresses.

      All in all, if IPV6 were being deployed in the early 1990's it might have made sense to avoid some of the pain we went through. Now, i

    • NAT is a workaround. Yes, it mostly works around the issue. But it's a pain to configure. It's a pain for app developers and maintainers. Everyone would much prefer a system that didn't require so much work in the work-around. IPV6 solves the problem. It also eliminates requirements of the tcp/ip protocol that are putting a current burden on networking speeds (have a look at the changes to error checking). It will be a boon to us all if we successfully make the switch. Most of the key hardware out t
      • NAT is a workaround. Yes, it mostly works around the issue. But it's a pain to configure. It's a pain for app developers and maintainers.

        The major deal with NAT's is usually when you start getting two hosts on a WAN, and both are behind different NAT's.
        Yay. Try to configure a NAT for some random application not having made a big effort to support NAT's there. :-(

        And as the IP space keeps getting eaten, what happens is:
        1. More circumstances where both are behind a NAT.
        2. Less circumstances where someone is "
    • Every mobile device is individially addressable right now by its number and network (12223334444@serviceprovider.com) - effectively a single IP address. Since this is also its voice number, it's easy to remember and convenient. We won't be running out at anytime soon (10 billion mobiles per service provider capacity).

      ??? But that's just a mail adress. How are we supposed to e.g. communicate in real-time directly to that device with a mail address? Hack the mail server to deliver real-time / streaming media
      • That there is a desire/need for direct unsolicited continuous communication with all hosts (mobiles in particular) is incorrect. As an AC pointed out to another post, even if we had IPv6 universally deployed today, that would not be permitted. We LIKE that NAT breaks end-to-end networking when we want it to. We LIKE having 64K machines port forwarded behind a single IP address providing services, when we want to. That isn't going to change, whatever networking stack we use.

        Why spend the time and effort
    • First, let's assume for a moment that address space was what IPv6 was about. It isn't, by a long way, but let's assume it was. Would it still be useful? Yes. Why? Because routing sucks using IPv4, that's why. An address of w.x.y.z could be absolutely anywhere on the Internet. The backbone routers on the Internet need a router table entry for every friggin' block of IP addresses whose next hop cannot be inferred from the broader IP block. With CIDR, this problem is actually a lot worse, as you can't simply say that some C-class network is in that general direction. Any of the subnets could be absolutely anywhere. You don't know if 130.88.12.118 is a machine inside the 130.88.12.x network - it might just as easily be off the 131.23.42.x network. But the router for 130.88.x.y might be off 132.79.42.y, so you can't pass the packet to the router for the general case, you have to pass it to the router for the most specific case. Because many routers don't allow netmasks with "holes", you could in theory end up with router tables with up to 512 million entries with no efficient method of searching it. You have to check the destination against every entry + netmask for the most accurate match.

      IPv6 mandates hierarchical addresses. In fact, if you use automatic address assignment, you don't get a choice. Every router WILL have a subgroup of the parent's IP block, and every IP address WILL have a prefix that matches the host router's prefix. This means that routers can largely dispense with routing tables. If the prefix matches the prefix of the router, up to the prefix length of that router, it goes on the local network. Everything else goes upstream. If you are on a peered network, you need to add one prefix check per peer. This means that a router with N ports and M tunnels has an absolute maximum of (N + M - 1) prefix tests. On a huge, 256-port router, with no pipes used for redundancy, you're looking at 255 tests.

      That's one hell of a difference, when it comes to latency.

      Ok, so what are the other differences? Well, IPv6 mandates IPSec. If you comply with requirements, you WILL use encrypted connections. So, sure, the Government can mandate that ISPs send them all the traffic. Let them. Give them all the triple-DES or AES-encrypted streams they like. Won't do them much good. From a privacy standpoint, IPv6 is about as good as it gets. Even the UK's requirements of handing over encryption keys if there is a reason to believe you have them is of no use - IPSec is opportunistic, per-unit of time, per-session. You don't know the keys, you have no reason to, and most Operating Systems won't let you have them even if you did want them.

      Mobility. IPv6 mandates mobility for computers AND for networks. IPv4 - well, it's possible but (a) both providers need to support it, and (b) routing won't be optimized. Ever. With IPv6, upstream routers become aware of your move and the routing becomes corrected over time. You don't need cooperative ISPs, it's built-in. It will simply work.

      Zeroconf. Again, you can do this with IPv4 - if the ISP (or network admin in a corporation) is feeling uber-generous. With IPv6, zeroconf is the norm. You can use DHCPv6 if you really want, but you're not stuck with it.

      Multicast. This has existed within IPv4 for many decades, but the bloody ISPs won't enable it in their routers, so you can't use it. This is sheer bloody-mindedness on their part, as multicast doesn't place a greater strain on their networks. It would actually reduce it something fierce. It doesn't require any additional effort on their part, other than to enable PIMv2 on the upstream and downstream connections. Everything else is automatic, as multicast has been natively supported on the backbone for at least a decade. Two settings. Two tiny, insignificant settings, and they could cut network traffic at peak times by an order of magnitude.

      (FTP-over-multicast exists. I'm sure bittorrent-over-multicast would be doable, if it hasn't been done alrea

      • Where do I start?

        1. IPV6 mandates *support* for ipsec. IPV4 also supports ipsec. 99% of communication will not use it anyway, and that which does could have done it with IPV4 anyway, so no difference there.
        2. Mobility. Huh? Another solution waiting for a problem. I guess that all those laptops in starbucks *aren't* quite happy with the functionality of DHCP then.
        3. First, that's not zeroconf. Go google what zeroconf is then come back. Also IPV6 does *not* remove the need for DHCP - it just has a diff
  • 6to4 Routing (Score:5, Informative)

    by paul248 ( 536459 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @10:29PM (#15726530) Homepage
    Probably the simplest way to get an IPv6 address these days is using 6to4.

    Every IPv4 address has been assigned a big block of IPv6 addresses, with a prefix of 2002:[IPv4_address]. If you've got a 6to4 address, and want to send a packet to another 6to4 address, it just gets encapsulated and sent directly to the destination over the IPv4 Internet.

    However, if you want to send a packet from a 6to4 address to a "real" IPv6 address with a 2001: prefix, then it needs to get routed through a 6to4 gateway.

    If your ISP has a clue, then you should be able to traceroute to the 192.88.99.1 anycast address, and reach a gateway that's somewhat close to you. For a fun time, try it from different computers on different ISPs to see where you end up.

    The nice thing about 6to4 is, if you can get your router set up with a 6to4 address, then it can advertise that prefix on your LAN, and all your LAN computers can have a public IPv6 address.

    At some level, it's like the ultimate stateless NAT traversal system: you can send packets directly from one LAN to another without needing to do any of that port forwarding nonsense. It really shows you how the Internet was designed to work in the first place.

    Well anyway, here's the Wikipedia article on 6to4:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6to4 [wikipedia.org]
  • A properly designed protocol would not be of a fixed bit count, period. Such as 'first byte is how many bytes of data follow, or 255 to indicate 254 data bytes and then another count byte, repeat until non-255 count byte'. Static sized objects are Wrong and separate the inferior code (or protocol) from the superior. You'd think the design of the next generation protocol would incorporate that wisdom. Maybe the next next protocol (and there WILL be one).
  • by StarWreck ( 695075 ) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @11:00PM (#15726617) Homepage Journal
    People who've been behind the scenes know that in reality not anywhere near 2/3 of IPv4 is currently being used up. Large swaths of IP thats supposedly being used are abandoned. Entire Class A segments are assigned to companies that were large at one time but have since been swept aside and they get to keep their unused Class A networks for some obscure "historical" purpose. If abandoned chunks were released for use to currently functioning companies we wouldn't need IPv6 for 20 more years!
  • They gave each address a "16-bit" number, which meant that the total number of available addresses worked out at about four billion (2 to the power of 32).
     
    On what planet does this sentence even come close to making sense?
  • Morons (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Cisco Kid ( 31490 ) * on Saturday July 15, 2006 @11:39PM (#15726716)
    I would file this under complete and utter stupidity, with outright incorrect information thrown in to boot.

    IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses
    IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses

    Theres the incorrect information part. I'll leave it up to the reader to recognize the utter stupidity part.
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @12:28AM (#15726850) Homepage Journal
    I set up my Windows-using friends' PCs to use the same address: 127.0.0.1. Do this worldwide and we can reclaim the IPv4 addresses and be good for another 10 or 20 years.

    Borgified computers share a common mind they might as well share a common IP address :).
  • by WhatDoIKnow ( 962719 ) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @02:26AM (#15727050)
    The /. education icon, with 2+2=5, would have been more appropriate for this article.
    :wq
  • by Fjan11 ( 649654 ) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @10:18AM (#15727883) Homepage
    From te article:

    and IPv6 is in use in some countries, including the Netherlands

    That is way too generalistic a statement. It is used in a few academic intitutions and I can think of one consumer ISP that hands out IPv6 addresses (www.xs4all.nl) and then only if you ask for it. The rest of us here in teh Netherlands are stil on regular old IPv4.

Every program is a part of some other program, and rarely fits.

Working...