As we are running out of IPv4 network addresses (and yes, we are), there’s only two possible future scenarios and one of the two, most people are not going to like at all.
As IP addresses get more and more scarce, things will start to suck for both clients and content providers.
As more and more clients connect, carrier grade NAT will become the norm. NAT already sucks, but at least you get to control it and using NAT-PMP or UPnP, applications in your network get some control over being able to accept incoming connections.
Carrier Grade NAT is different. That’s NAT being done on the ISPs end, so you don’t get to open ports at all. This will affect gaming performance, it will affect your ability to use VoIP clients and of course file sharing clients.
For content providers on the other hand, it will become more and more difficult to get the public IP addresses needed for them to be able to actually provide content.
Back in the day, if you wanted to launch a service, you would just do it. No need to ask anybody for permission. But in the future, as addresses become scarce and controlled by big ISPs which are also acting as content provider, the ISPs become the gatekeepers for new services.
Either you do something they like you to be doing, or you don’t get an address: As there will be way more content providers fighing over addresses than there will be addresses available, it’s easy for them to be picky.
Old companies who still have addresses of course are not affected, but competing against them will become hard or even impossible.
More power to the ISPs and no competition for existing content providing services both are very good things for players already in the game, so that’s certainly a possible future they are looking forward to.
If we want to prevent this possible future from becoming reality, we need a way out. IPv4 is draining up. IPv6 exists for a long time, but people are reluctant to upgrade their infrastructure.
It’s a vicious cycle: People don’t upgrade their infrastructure to IPv6 because nobody is using IPv6 and nobody is using IPv6 because there’s nothing to be gained from using IPv6.
If we want to keep the internet as an open medium, we need to break the cycle. Everybody needs to work together to provide services over IPv6, to the point of even offering services over IPv6 exclusively.
Only then can we start to build pressure for ISPs to support IPv6 on their end.
If you are a content provider, ask your ISP for IPv6 support and start offering your content over IPv6. If you are an end user, pressure your ISP to offer IPv6 connectivity.
Knowing this, even one year ago, after getting motivated by my awesome ISP who offered IPv6 connectivity ever since, I started to get our commercial infrastructure up to speed.
Read on to learn how that went.