Colleges could profit as internet runs out of addresses

Tim Chown, a computer science professor at Southampton University in the U.K., is among a group of researchers that have tracked IPv6 developments for about 15 years, according to the university.

Chown, who helped launch the university’s first IPv6-run device in 1997, has advocated “dual stacking,” or running IPv6 alongside IPv4 while institutions are making the shift.

Because IPv4 and IPv6 aren’t compatible, Horley said campuses that don’t use dual stacking – attempting an immediate change to the newer protocol — might run into technical problems during the transition.

“I do not believe this will impact student learning if the university and college IT departments get the deployments done correctly,” he said. “The good news is that getting IPv6 address space should be easy and affordable, and depending on their peering providers, something they can start working with immediately.”

Transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6 doesn’t mean consumers will suddenly find websites unreachable, though. And if everything goes according to plan, web users won’t even notice.

“It will just be ‘business as usual’ if everyone gets their job done,” said John Curran, CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, or ARIN, one of five regional groups that dole out such addresses.

ARIN covers the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, the top-level administrator of the system, has called a press conference in Miami on Feb. 3. One person said its last five “blocks” of internet protocol, or IP, addresses will be distributed then.

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