Connected Home Devices Will Help Accelerate IPv6 Roll Out
Like a lot of technologies we use today IP (Internet Protocol) technology started as a simple idea to allow machine-to-machine communication, mainly computers. Fast forward the technology has withstand the test of time and after 30 years, IP has become the heart of the internet and telecommunications and set to become the life vein of the of the connected home.
I can guess that the researchers that developed the Internet Protocol might not have thought that it would evolve the way it has and now has the world’s major communication systems depending on it. You many as what has the connected home has to do with IP-technology? Base on how I see it everything.
What IP technology does and does best is it gives everything an address. Just like our postal address, the electronic messages find their destination wherever that machine is in the world; whether it is using TCP, UDP or any other protocol within the TCP/IP stock, it just works.
The technology has gone through many iterations until it got to IP Version 4 (IPv4) where it stayed for until today in some instances. IP Version 4 has worked fine until the explosion of the internet. Those in the now and those familiar with the technology saw a problem; soon there will not be enough addresses to around.
IPv4 has a limit of 4,294,967,296 addresses; however, some addresses are reserved for private or other uses (278 million) and cannot be used in the public domain. This reduces the number of addresses that can potentially be allocated for routing on the public Internet.
As of early 2007 about 2.8 billion mobile phones were in use worldwide, and 1.6 million new ones entered into usage every day. Now, the number of mobile phones in use worldwide is estimated to be more than 3.5 billion, according to the Digital Economy Fact Book. I think with sparse habitation and difficult terrains in some of the continents this number will increase exponentially. These figures do not include connected home devices which are set to increase as the concept of the connected home grows.
Up until a few years ago must of the appliances we have in our home were analogue, and connection to the internet was provided by dial-up ISDN or PSTN, ISDN was used mostly by businesses because of the cost and PSTN was used by both through a modem.
Now that we have wired broadband and wireless internet access we are not only using our PCs and Laptops to browse and connect to the internet but other home appliances are connecting as well. Theoretically this should not create a direct demand for more IP addresses, because the reserved IP range is able to provide addresses for some devices in the home.
The direct demands are in the number of home subscribing to broadband and some may have more than one. The indirect demands are in the services that are by product of the connected home. Business don’t only need to have a website, there are new services such as on-demand TV, Smart Meters which complements the smart grid, online gaming and many more. Also there are many requests coming out the homes at the same time for different services.
Although IPv6 is being rolled out now I see the need for it growing as our lives become more connected. I also see a demand from businesses to create new business services. Our mobile lifestyle will also play a part in this. A lot of us caries more than one internet enabled device for example we may have two mobile (work and personal), laptop with 3G, Tablet or ebookreader on us on any one time.