Originally posted by SpaDe_
reply to post by phishybongwaters
That is my point. There can never ever mathematically be an ending number of any given IP addresses. Just because this current version being based on
32 bit is running out there is always the next set. Next after this will be 256 bit and so on and so forth. It is never ending.
1. Of course in one sense you are abolutely right, but the issue remains, the same as Y2K. Y2K was an issue because programmers only used two digits
to store the year. The reason was not laziness, but memory space on early computers where every byte was precious. Programmers relied on the two
digits and performed their mathematical calculations accordingly. No one in 1970 believed their programs would still be running in 2000, so it was not
deemed a problem. Except that it was and when 2000 rolled around, lots of people were born in negative years.
One of my programs, an accounts receivable/payable program, suffered from this. I had to go back and "patch" the program by adding a couple of lines
of code that circumvented the issue. I did and everything worked fine. That's what a lot of other prgrammers did, too. It was also a great excuse to
upgrade. One company I was associated with, WLN, the Western Library Network, folded because their main "Grinder" program was so full of Y2K issues
that they felt they did not have the money to fix it, so they "merged" (were absorbed by) OCLC. They never said, "Y2K drove us out of business."
Instead they made noises about consolidation and better use of funds, blah, blah, but Y2K was what did them in.
Y2K WAS a problem, but people like me fixed the issues and insulated you from them so that you could then claim it wasn't an issue. There's plenty
of ignorance to go around here.
2. IPv4 is exactly the same problem. A "header" is a fixed length piece of data that is attached to ALL the packets sent out on the Internet--ALL of
them. Version 4 addresses are composed of four (4) bytes, and ONLY 4 bytes. Each byte can hold one of 256 possible numbers, so your range goes from
000.000.000.000 to 256.256.256.256. That's all you've got. The header contains the destination IP and the origin IP so there is more than one place
in the header where this happens.
This is not pure math here. You can't just cavalierly say. "Well, just add a fifth byte and you've got all the address space you need" because the
header of the packet is a fixed length with every byte accounted for and every machine on the Internet poised to look for 4 bytes, not 5. This is
practical math, and as I hope you can see, we have a practical problem to solve.
IPv6 was designed to solve this issue, but it must be implemented. That means "touching" every single router on the Internet. Just be glad we're
not talking MAC addresses here, which are burned (hard-wired) into every hardware device on the Internet. The solution will be in software to
re-program routers to handle the larger address space required. The good news, as has been stated, is that the version 4 addresses can be treated as a
subset of version 6 addresses, so no one has to change anything locally (save those pesky routers). It will be an issue with big corporations and
ISPs, but it will not be a problem for the public.
3. Just like the Y2K problem, no one ever thought we'd run out of IP addresses. That was before fax machines, copy machines, printers, and every
other electronic thing started having IP addresses. In the early days the "authorities" were very cavalier themselves about sending out addresses.
In the eighties I had ten outlets to serve, so I asked for eleven Class "C" networks. A "Class C" network allows you 256 (well, no, it's 254
because you don;t use 0 or 256, but let's not quibble) addresses per network. So, for example, one network was 188.8.131.52-255. It's just that
last byte that would change in the "198.187.135 network" I would assign one constant number to my router, such as "dot one" and use the rest for
The problem was, in some of my networks, I only had ten computers on them, but I used an entire Class C on them. That means I wasted 250 addresses
which are sitting there (still) unused and unavailable,. I also had an entire Class C for my WAN to tie all the Class C networks together. I would
guess that at first I had something like 100 devices and 2750 addresses, therefore 2650 of them were unused.
This is an INCREDIBLE waste of address space and it is prevalent today. Although with the fax, printer, telephone issue has grabbed many of those
addresses today to the point that I began to sub-net (a way to divide a Class C into separate networks), the fact is that today that combination of
networks still is using only half its address space.
Are there ways around this? Sure. I used static addressing and permanently assigned IPs to devices. I could have used dynamic addressing where a
computer assigned a temporary address to each device as needed. The problem was that I used the IP as an identifier. It would have been extremely
difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to switch procedures. I could also have used internal addressing where the addresses were not advertised on
the Internet. This would mean that for my now 1,000 device network I would use just a few dozen externally. When I originally designed the network
some of those options were not open to me. Today it would be considered unprofessional not to use them.
Could the authroities just say, "Give them back!" No. They are mine. Besides, technically it would be extremeley difficult. Those networks are
sub-netted every which way these days. It would be a technical nightmaree. Besides, who says I'm not using them and I still need room for gorwth.
The problem here is that anyone NEW asking for NEW addresses will not be able to get version 4 addresses any more. They are all used up. THAT'S why
this is an issue. Addresses have become valuable. My guess is that some enterprising souls will come to people like me and say, "Look, if you
consolidate and do DHCP instead of static addressing that will free up some addresses we can jointly sell to the new guys." All we need is an
So the bottom line point here is that decisions have consequences and sometimes you don't know what they are until you face them years later. And
although IPv4 is "Not a problem" as far as you, the end user and customer, that doesn't mean there aren't lots of people working very hard to
ensure it doesn't become a problem for you so that you, once again, can feel no effects and conclude that it was never really a problem anyway.
Well, it was.