In August 1981 there were 213 hosting computers connected to the Internet. By January 2011 there were 818,374,269 hosting computers connected to the Internet. Total devices connected to the Internet passed the 5 billion mark in August 2010.
With this explosive growth, the address requirements have been driven to their limits. The internet is quickly running out of unique 32 bit IP addresses.
IPv6 is the only available solution to the IPv4 address shortage. It is endorsed and implemented by all Internet technical standards bodies and network equipment vendors. IPv6 has been in active production deployment since June 2006.
IPv6 supports 128 bit addressing, approximately 3.4×1038 (340 undecillion or 340 trillion trillion trillion) unique addresses.
AT&T and IPv6
AT&T is enabling IPv6 technology across our IP products and services, as well as our IT and network infrastructure. This is a multi-year process that involves dual-stack technology that will support both IPv4 and IPv6, giving our customers a seamless experience during this transition.
AT&T has been actively involved in standards development and testing for IPv6 since its inception. We've been working since 2006 to transition to IPv6 technology in our network. AT&T is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade our network and systems to support this technology.
The AT&T IP backbone network supports IPv6 today and we are currently offering enterprise services that support IPv6. We believe that IPv6 gives the industry greater room to grow, innovate and support new devices. We are excited to continue deploying the technology in our network and to our customers throughout 2011.
While this is a large effort on our part, the vast majority of customers will see little or no impact as we transition to IPv6. This is due to the extensive preparation by key industry players, including AT&T, in advance of the transition.
World IPv6 Day
Getting the Internet infrastructure to move to IPv6 has been challenging.
On June 8th 2011, the Internet Society (ISOC) hosted World IPv6 Day, which involves several organizations, including AT&T, offering content over IPv6 for a period of 24 hours as a "test flight". The purpose was to encourage all industry stakeholders to adequately gear up for the actual transition to IPv6.
AT&T participated in World IPv6 Day as both a content provider (YP.com and research.att.com) and as a provider of network and hosting services. In these capacities, AT&T's research labs successfully monitored the performance and accessibility of our web sites, as well as our backbone network and peering points.
World IPv6 Launch
A year later, on June 6th 2012, World IPv6 Launch represents a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6. As the successor to the current Internet Protocol, IPv4, IPv6 is critical to the Internet's continued growth as a platform for innovation and economic development. This infographic explains through both numbers and charts how the Internet changed and is continuing to change!