At the beginning of the Internet, nobody was able to imagine the passion it would evoke. Also, when the question of how to identify machines on the network came, engineers estimated that the 32 bits of IPv4 address would be sufficient (roughly 4.3 billion addresses).
With the arrival of the mobile, the growth of connections, the proliferation of services, but also “web-emerging” country requests (Africa, Asia, etc..), the number of available IPv4 has been exhausted on 3rd of February 2011. Regional Internet Registries still have few IPv4 available but they are expected to be exhausted in 2012-2013.
To remedy this forthcoming shortage, engineers have been working since 1998 on a new protocol. This allows, among others, to overcome that IP number limit. One solution was to move from a coding addresses of 32 bits to 128 bits (roughly 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses). Thus IPv6 was born.
That newer addressing version will coexist with the older one but bridge between the two protocols, even if possible, is more complex than required. It is strongly advised to go for dual-stack model (support of both IPv4 and IPv6) as soon as possible and until IPv4 disapear from the Internet.
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