Earlier this week I wrote how European IPv4 addresses have now all been allocated. The IPv6 address space is extremely bigger than IPv4 is. IPv4 has 2^32 possible addresses, as they have a length of 32 bits. IPv6 is 128 bits long, allowing 2^128 addresses.
We have an IPv6 address with our fiber to the home connection (currently 500Mbit symmetrical, which is actually a step down from the 1Gbit symmetrical we had before). I asked our provider what type of address allocation they use for IPv6. They allocate a (currently recommended) /48 block to us. A /48 IPv6 block contains 2^(128−48) = 2^80 addresses. The total IPv4 address space is 2^32 addresses. So we actually have an available address space at home that is 2^16 (65.536) times larger than the square of the total number of IPv4 addresses (2^16*2^32*2^32=2^80). These are mind bogglingly large numbers.
RIPE announced yesterday that they’ve handed out the last IPv4 address ranges. RIPE is the organisation that allocates IP addresses for Europe, Middle East, Eurasia and Middle Asia.
Time to step up the transition to IPv6, an address space that even at the current available ranges (about 20% of the total), easily allows for the allocation of some 4000 ip addresses to every person on the planet as end-users. IPv6 is what makes it possible to have a much wider range of objects in our environment be connected. Such as ever more sensors in/around your home and in your city. It allows the level of data saturation that is needed to provide self driving cars with rails of data and not have them depend on just their own onboard sensors.
Our home internet connection has an IPv6 address and an IPv4 one, which allows us to reach both types of addresses (you can’t otherwise visit one from the other as they’re different protocols, unless you can use a translation service). I am unsure what type of range, if any, I’m allocated in the IPv6 range though. Will have to ask my provider.