University prepared for IPv4 address shortage

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    The World Wide Web is running out of Web, but TCU should be spared from any future problems the change might bring.

    Currently, every device connected to the Internet has its own unique code called an IP version 4 number, according to encyclopedia.com. The IPv4 numbers are scheduled to run out in the near future 8212; similar to a situation where a city would run out of phone numbers, according to a wallstreetjournal.com article.

    Some news sources reported IPv4 addresses will run out in as little as six months, and others say it could be as long as 18 months.

    Executive Director of Technology Resources Bryan Lucas said TCU students do not have to worry about the switch. The university has prepared for this issue by purchasing equipment that is compatible with IPv4 and IPv6, he said.

    “For our current material, it’s just a matter of configuring and testing it,” Lucas said.

    Associate Professor of Computer Science Liran Ma said the IPv4 addresses were not expected to run out because the Internet was initially meant to be just for America.

    “It was designed for America, but now everyone worldwide wants the Internet. China, Japan, and Korea are driving things.” Ma said.

    Once the IPv4 numbers run out, all new devices connected to the Internet will be on a new type of IP address called IPv6.

    “Each IPv4 number has 32 bits of usage, but each IPv6 number has 64 bits. There are so many IPv6 addresses that every piece of sand in the world could have one if it wanted,” Ma said.

    IPv6 contains more numbers in the address, and each address contains more information for potential storage than IPv4.

    The change from IPv4 to IPv6 will not present a problem, Ma said.

    “The transition will be like the post office. When you get a new address, you still get of all your mail delivered to your new house,” Ma said.

    TCU has been allocated an adequate number of IPv4 addresses, so the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will not be difficult or sudden, Lucas said.

    “All of our equipment that was purchased in the last four or five years supports IPv6,” Lucas said.

    Ma said the switch will not affect future buildings on campus either as both IPv4 and IPv6 use the same cables.

    Senior supply chain, accounting and finance major Mark Tylenda said he didn’t think the switch would have any immediate effect on Internet users but that the switch to IPv6 was something that has to happen. He said it was important for people to make sure any computer hardware they purchased was compatible with IPv6.

    Ma said that just like TCU, the worldwide Internet community had been preparing for the coming transition for a while.

    “They were aware that a transition would happen, but they didn’t know exactly when,” Ma said.