IoT will see demand for IPv6 addresses skyrocket, says Vint Cerf

5 May 2015

Vint Cerf, one of the 'fathers of the internet'. Image via Wikimedia Commons

The current internet of things (IoT) infrastructure is struggling to keep up with demand and must see a rapid creation of IP addresses, according to one of the founding fathers of the internet, Vint Cerf.

As chairman of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), Cerf said in an address to the US Press Club that, for some users, the internet is becoming a much slower entity, while thousands of websites are also struggling to function properly due to an over proliferation of devices versus IP addresses.

According to USA Today, Cerf said both himself and fellow internet pioneer Bob Khan estimated that if IoT is to continue its rapid growth at the current rate, the internet will need approximately 4.3bn more IP addresses to cope, while citing Cisco, which says that by 2020 there will be almost 50bn devices connected to the internet.

IoT needs greater security

In the meantime, however, Cerf stressed the importance of switching to the most up-to-date IP address version, IPv6, which is capable of creating 340 undecillion possibilities (that’s 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, if you were interested) compared with the 4.3bn that is possible under IPv4.

This ran out of possible numbers back in 2011 yet, according to Cerf, only 3-4pc of the internet is using IPv6.

Most importantly, according to Cerf, who also goes under the title of Tech Evangelist at Google, IPv6 will ensure greater security in the face of an interconnected device world.

“I think ultimately when we finally get (IPv6) everywhere, people will have the flexibility to run end-to-end security and safety. They’ll be able to cluster things together and have hubs that manage access to them, which we’re going to need for IoT,” he said.

Infographic explaining IPv6

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic