solarpunk future with windmills, solar panels, and eco sound living
The SolarPunk IPv6 Future We Need

IPv4 is for Boomers

And you don't want to be a boomer, right?

hyper sensitive boomer scolds grandkid on phone

This is a tongue in cheek post about why we should stop using IPv4 and some hypothetical reasons we don't do it.

  • We're out of IPv4 addresses. Yes, we're out. Sure we could waste more time with more dumb tricks to get around address exhaustion, but we're out. There are literally trillions on trillions of IPv6 addresses looking for a good home, but no, let's keep splitting ranges and using other translation hacks to stick to ol'v4.
  •  32 bits is less than 128 bits, far less. 2^32 = 4,294,967,296 or 10 digits. 2^128 = 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 or 39 digits. 39 digits is bigger than 10 digits. Therefore 32-bit IPv4 is too small to be usable.
  • IPv4 requires long justifications to ISPs why you need it. The *exact* same ISP will give you billions of IPv6 for free.
  • IPv4 became a standard in 1981. IPv6 became a standard in 2017.
  • With IPv4, you have to do all sorts of horrible things to network traffic to let your devices talk to the open internet, which the other end is also mangling traffic. It's amazing IPv4 connects at all these days.
  • With IPv4, your poor firewall is a proxy server, NAT server, STUN/TURN passthrough, VPN passthrough, and keep track of all this whilst somehow trying to secure it all.
swol doge at 128 bits is larger than cheems doge at 32 bits

IPv6 is designed with both privacy and security built in. IPsec is designed for IPv6. IPv6 has privacy extensions. IPv4 has none of these.

Why aren't we all IPv6 then?

You would think that when IPv4 addresses ran out, people would migrate since IPv6 is given out like free candy at a parade, but nooooo. We need a killer app for IPv6. Most mobile networks (like phones) are already IPv6 because there are so many devices on the network. The mobile networks also run giant NAT servers, with a fancy made up name like "Carrier Grade NAT", to translate private IPv4 ranges to a single public IPv4 address--which is just painfully slow.

There's also lots of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt pushed around about "IPv6 isn't private". Bullcrap. Just like we figured out IPv4 privacy, we can figure out IPv6. Mostly, this FUD falls into "omg something is new, it must be bad". 

I think Gnutella, Bittorrent, and Limewire were great models for future technologies. They allow direct device to device connections, the average person can share content directly and there is no need for centralized, controlling servers deciding who can talk to whom. This is the killer app for IPv6. An IPv6 only app that everyone wants, is easy to use, and allows direct sharing between devices. You are the cloud, no need to central control structures at all.

Do you use IPv6?

Yes. Every device I own uses IPv6, in most cases exclusively. There is no IPv4 assigned to it. I have zero issues using 90% of what I need on IPv6-only networks. These IPv6-only devices are directly connected to the Internet. I use a passive firewall to protect them from everything and/or restrict access. The firewall, even at full 1 gigabit transfers to multiple devices, idles along at 3% CPU usage.

Using DNS, you never have to remember the IPv6 address, just remember the name. It works everywhere.

I look forward to a fully connected future where servers are obsolete, everything can be directly reached by everything else, and we re-created the awesomeness of the 1990s Internet, but with current technology.