In 1983, when the Internet was still in its infancy and still referred to as ARPANET, IPv4 was deployed for the purpose of routing traffic. The original standard was designed to assign unique IP addresses for 4.3 billion possible devices to ensure that data flowed securely to the appropriate destination. That seemed like an inexhaustible supply of addresses at the time, but, in subsequent years, the number of devices connecting to the Internet has exploded.

The issue of running out of IP addresses came to a head in 2015 when the folks at Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for North America determined that their pool of available IP addresses was becoming exhausted. This was largely due to the popularity of connected “things.” According to a recent report from Gartner, 6.4 billion connected devices will be in use this year—a 30 percent increase from 2015.

From smartphones to smart refrigerators, the Internet of Things is disrupting the nature of connectivity and will continue to do so. Indeed, Gartner predicts that, by 2020, the number of connected devices will reach 20.8 billion.

The 2015 conclusions from the RIR may come to be known as the eulogy for IPv4, meaning that 2016 may come to be remembered as the year of IPv6.

To date, the torch of early adoption of IPv6 has been carried primarily by large corporations. But with the new protocol able to connect trillions of devices, before long, IPv6 will be the status quo for connecting to the Internet.

There are a number of other clear benefits for making the move to IPv6 that will be relevant for small and medium sized businesses outside the setting of global enterprises.

  • More efficient routing, including a hierarchy to help prioritize traffic
  • More efficient packet processing, with no checksum required at every router
  • Simultaneous delivery of data-intensive packets to multiple destinations to preserve bandwidth.
  • Restoration of end-to-end connectivity to make peer-to-peer networks easier to create and maintain
  • Built-in IPSec, providing confidentiality, authentication and data integrity

With the new protocol in place, Internet users will enjoy streamlined data sharing while simultaneously creating a greater level of security.

In early 2016, the growth of IPv6 adoption had already doubled from 2015, according to a recent Internet Society article. Phil Roberts, the Technology Program Manager at TechMatters, found that 10 percent of traffic flowing through Google’s servers was coming from IPv6 connections. While that amount may seem small, only three years ago it was less than 1 percent.

Even mobile carriers are recognizing the need for IPv6 capability, with the top four (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint) all taking up the slack.

As your business grows and seeks competitive advantage, stay ahead of the curve by making the move to a service provider that is IPv6-capable. Click here to learn more.