Internet Television is gaining mucho momentum these days. Apple has a new version of Apple TV, Sony just announced a new line of HDTVs with built in Google TV software, and users who have Netflix accounts can stream movies via a Roku set-top box or their TiVo units.
Even as the media giants (mostly Google and Apple) roll out newer, prettier, faster versions of their Internet to TV solutions, what the enterprises are neglecting to take into consideration is the IPv4 to IPv6 transition.
I have written extensively about this issue before, so I’ll give you the Cliff Notes overview of IPv4.
Every device that connects to a network (computer, mobile phone, printer, etc) is assigned a specific IP address. Currently IP addresses are generated using IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4). This method only created a finite number of IP addresses, and we are running out of them fast.
As more households purchase Internet enabled Televisions or set-top units to connect to the web, they are eating up viable IP addresses. Analysts expect our IP addresses to run out by the end of next year. According to an article in Ars Technica, the United States already owns 1.5 billion IPv4 addresses, and more are being added at a rate of 200 million per year.
Still lost? Let’s put this into perspective. John and Jane Doe wait until October of 2011 to purchase a shiny new 42 inch HDTV (it’s their 5th Wedding Anniversary so they want to do something big). They are really excited because their shiny new set has Google TV built right in. However, we ran out of IP addresses in August. Sure their cable TV will work, but they won’t be able to access the Internet - no Google TV for the Doe family.
So what do we do? There isn’t much WE can do. It is up to the major Internet Service Providers and big business to start the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.
IPv6 allows for a zillion more IP addresses (3.40282367 × 1038 more); to accommodate the growing number of Internet enabled devices available on the market. The important actors in this drama are still not moving towards converting to IPv6.