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IP Version 6 switches on

A new range of internet "telephone numbers" will be activated today (2 February) to allow more devices to connect to the internet in the future.

The release of the new standard will allow more devices to connect to the internet in the same way that changes to dialling codes in tradtional telephone numbers allow more phones to connect to a network.

Master address books used by the internet to direct traffic are being updated today to interpret IP addresses prepared in a new format known as IP Version 6 (IPV6).

All devices that connect to the internet require a unique IP address. At present, internet addresses are written in a format called Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4).

But because the number of devices connecting to the internet are increasing, the IPv4 will exhaust its supply of addresses by 2011.

The switchover today means that computers using IPv6, typically a PC and a server, can find each other without involving any IPv4 technology.

Claranet is one UK internet provider to give IPv6 capabilities to its customers.

"Internet address space will start running out in two years time unless ISPs adopt the new verson of the internet protocol, IPv6, across their networks. Although modern computers, servers, routers and other online devices are able to use IPv6, many ISPs have yet to implement the system," Dave Freedman, Claranet's Group Network Manager.


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