As I pondered my prior post regarding ARIN's announcement of its IPv4 address capacity dwindling down to a single /8, I began to wonder how long it would be before those supporting only IPv4 communications would feel the impact. The "impact" of ignoring IPv6 may be the inability to communicate with THE growth segment of the Internet. Once IPv4 is totally depleted, ALL growth will by necessity utilize IPv6.
And this total depletion time may come very soon. As I pointed out in that post, the sum total IPv4 address space that's available globally is about 0.1 billion. Truthfully, ISPs that obtain space from RIRs and enterprises from ISPs, likewise have their own stock of IPv4 capacity, but once the RIRs run out, there will be no additional space to be had. Consider that the 0.1 billion IP addresses represents a mere 1.4% of the world's population of 7.2 billion. One simple minded conclusion would be that the IPv4 Internet can support a mere 1.4% increase in Internet user penetration.
The current Internet user penetration as reported by Internet Live Stats is about 40% today. The penetration at the end of 2013 was 38.5%, so it took less than four months to grow further than 1.4% in penetration. So could it be another four months until we're totally out of space? Not likely, but it is likely that within a year, IPv4 space will be very hard to come by.
The world's insatiable appetite for IP addresses derives primarily from the proliferation of IP-addressable devices, from consumer communications devices like tablets and mobile phones, to industrial or public safety sensors, to developing countries deploying broadband and wireless networks. If you desire to share information, conduct business, or otherwise communicate with users of such devices, you should consider deploying IPv6 support in the very near future if you have not already. As use of such devices flourishes, they will ultimately use IPv6 addresses as that is all wireless and broadband operators will have available to assign. If you'd like them to be able to reach you online, you'll need IPv6-accessible resources, which means you'll need IPv6 address space. Don't know where to start? Contact us to learn more and for help.