Do I need to request something from my ISP? Lobby them to see if they take it seriously? Or do I have little choice but to hang around, feeling smug because I've heard of IPv6 before this week, but waiting for someone else to ensure I transition?
Yes, but it's less crucial for you. Ask for a timeline for IPv6, if you'd like, but don't expect much.
You can also set up IPv6 for yourself or your home network via a tunnel (which is a pretty fun exercise), and get access to the IPv6-enabled Internet. All recent operating systems have very good support for it -- even Windows 7 will hear RA and autoconfigure itself.
Start here: http://www.ipsidixit.net/2010/02/24/228/
You can get a tunnel here: http://tunnelbroker.net/main.php
Other people use this, but I prefer HE: http://www.sixxs.net/
I use this to configure my Debian-based router to change used v6 addresses to match DHCP-allocated v4: https://gist.github.com/806333 (bit of an ugly hack)
Each user has been delegated a /64 block of approximately 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 (18 quintillion) unique IPv6 addresses.
This seems like a ridiculous number of addresses, until you realize that this basically allows for 18 quintillion users, each with 18 quintillion addresses, before we exhaust the IPv6 space.
EDIT: I forgot to add that it also allows network devices to use their 64-bit link layer (ethernet/MAC) address as a host identifier.
Using smaller networks than /64 is certainly possible, but it's not something you want to do on end-user network and it's best left only for things like point-to-point connections and intra-datacenter networks.
The peak estimated birth rate on Earth was 173 million in the 1990s.
If 200 million people were born every year and we gave every person a /64 block, we could allocate addresses for the next 92 billion years. The sun will be long dead by the time we use up that address space.
92 billion years is a long time to imagine. Let's say we won't have a use for these addresses after the sun dies in approximately 5 billion years, so we're going to try to use them all up by giving every person 1,000 /64 blocks.
Wolfram Alpha gives the surface area of earth as 5e18 square centimeters. 2^64 is approximately 1.8e19. With a single /64 block you could put two nanobots in every square centimeter on earth. That's not really practical over the oceans, but whatever.
With 1000 /64 blocks, you could cover the earth with nanobots that take up only 0.05mm^2 of space each.
Pixels on the average computer display take up 0.055mm^2.
You could address a display that covered the surface of the entire earth with just 1000 /64 blocks, and you could make one of these display for every person born until our sun dies.
It's an astoundingly huge number.
In fact, even Windows XP will automagically set up a 6to4 tunnel with no configuration needed if you have a public IPv4 address. Just enable IPv6 support for your connection and it does it all for you.
This is actually one of the best things you can do. One of the frustrating things is when I talk to vendors about IPv6 and they say "oh, you're the only person to ever ask about that.."
Just drop a quick line to any networks you do business with (home ISP, hosting provider, hosted DNS, etc...) and politely ask them what their IPv6 rollout timeline is. Their response will give you a lot of information about how on the ball they are in general.
Even if you host websites, nothing until ipv4 actually gets scarce or costly.
Just because all ipv4 address space is "allocated" doesn't mean it's used or even allocated to end users.
I'd start worrying when you have to pay a lot of money to get a second IP on a server for example.
That'll probably be years away.... still good to read up on ipv6 though.
"APNIC expects normal allocations to continue for a further three to six months."
That's just retail markup. If you peer with tier 1 transit providers you can still get IPv4 space for practically nothing.
(The whole "charging for IP addresses" racket always left a bad taste in my mouth, since it's a public resource for which ISPs aren't paying, other than the overhead of being expected to justify and account for the space they've been allocated.)
The second thing I would do is setup ipv6. We are currently in a chicken/egg problem. No one uses ipv6 because no sites use it. No sites use it because no users use it.
Adding a bit of ipv6 traffic to the internet helps. If your ISP doesn't offer ipv6 you can setup a tunnel using a ddwrt router and a tunnel provider like Hurricane Electric.
The regional authorities (RIRs), the guys who actually allocate the addresses to user organizations, still have many, many blocks to allocate. The first RIR isn't expected to run out of ipv4 space until October.
That's when the shit really hits the fan -- requests for IPv4 space start to be rejected, ISPs start deploying NAT or 6RD, network administrators start jumping from windows etc.
http://www.potaroo.net/tools/ipv4/rir.jpg (probability distribution per-month)
The entire point of this exercise is to raise awareness. The IPv4 reserves are depleted, and the five regions are now chewing on the crumbs. Granted, this isn't shit hitting the fan -- however, preparations for shit hitting the fan must be on everybody's radar right now.
Huge changes to infrastructure, which honestly should have been completed years ago, do not happen overnight. That's why this is news.
I've noticed that the perceived view in the netops community -- backed up by mailing list messages today, even -- is that such an IPv4 broker market is an inevitability no matter what the RIRs do. There are policies about it, but some regions (i.e., APNIC) have a model that encourages reselling space without their involvement.
90% of the space was assigned via DHCP, but that remaining 10% which was statically assigned was a lot of work. Imagine tracking down every device assigned an IP address, scattered across a college campus.
Our routing configuration was trivial (single super-net, single site, &c), compacting an enterprise /8 would be an insane amount of work.
The long view isn't making a quick buck off v4, it's moving to v6 as quickly as possible.
Its a pretty interesting list of companies that still hold onto these blocks.
In 2006, the OMB issued a requirement that new DoD/DoE/USG/etc IT spend ("to the maximum extent practicable") be IPv6-capable, and tasked NIST with developing a testing framework for determining compliance:
Mind you, we were also supposed to be running at least dual-stack by 2008. ;-) Anyway, as of the middle of last year, this came along:
Basically, we have to be IPv6-capable on external services by 2012, and be ready for it enterprise-wide (for anything that touches the Internet; offline farms, etc. are exempt) by 2014. I don't suspect many organizations are going to hit that, but that's the target, and we're taking it pretty seriously here.
Also, here's a random resource: a totally unofficial IPv6 survey:
I edited out over and replaced it with depleted to satisfy the concern about the headline, but I didn't even like doing that. The cavalier attitude that "nothing is really wrong, keep doing what we're doing" has been an extensive contributor to the problematic situation we're in right now.
People have been beating the drum, as you say, because this day was foreseen more than a decade ago. IPv6 has been in use for far longer than a decade. It was anticipated that we'd be most of the way through the transition by now, but we're not, partially due to "nothing's wrong" attitudes.
Edit: By it in the first sentence, I meant IPv4's time (and was responding to the parent's usage of time running out). I don't mean IPv4 addresses have been exhausted, as I'm quite aware they're not. However, IPv4 has reached the end of its usefulness, is the underlying root of my meaning.
If the need of migrating to IPv6 is so great and it so valuable to do so, why the need for artificial pronouncements?
Yes, IPv6 is about 13-years old (from draft RFC approval in 1998). I view this as a more of a failure of IPv6, however.
I think that's an unfair assessment.
When every ipv4 address is actually used, it'll have run out. We're a long long way away from that scenario though.
Vast ranges are "allocated" but "unused".
That's pretty doable.
Hey... why aren't we moving anymore?
Any ideas of what will happen next? How far are we until some home users with outdated ISPs be blocked from the internet?
Once congestion hits (a few months to a year), I think ISPs natting ipv4 clients, or demanding a premium price from anyone who wants a routable address, is likely to happen somewhat more quickly than ipv6 to the home. But that's based on no inside information...
As a basis for making up your own mind: Linode has, at the moment, nine /20's allocated. At 80% utilisation, that means roughly 30'000 IPv4 addresses.
What appears to be happening is that people are just now seriously beginning to ask the questions about ipv6. We're seeing stuff like incredible performance penalties, poor routing and a complete lack of 6to4 (and back) support anywhere.
There's a long long slog to go and we're just getting started.
10.0.0.0 - 10.255.255.255 (10/8 prefix)
172.16.0.0 - 172.31.255.255 (172.16/12 prefix)
192.168.0.0 - 192.168.255.255 (192.168/16 prefix)
IPv4 won't die overnight, or even any time soon but there is likely to be an uncomfortable transition period where it becomes difficult for people like me who like to have static publics to get them cheaply, or at all.
In practice, yeah, not much of a difference.
In the past you paid for the extra's because the ISP had to do extra work for it.
But if the ISP sets everything up so all users have enough from the start. Like a /48. You won't have to bother them.
(edit: i can feel the down-voting coming)