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IPv6 for Decision Makers

As a key decision maker, you need to be aware of how IPv6 will affect your business now and in the future, whether you are responsible for the technical aspects of your organisation or not.

Get Informed

IPv4 Exhaustion

As one of the world's five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), one of the RIPE NCC's main activities is to register and distribute IPv4 and IPv6 address and Autonomous System (AS) Numbers. TheInternet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the organisation charged with distributing blocks of addresses to each RIR. There are around four billion unique IPv4 addresses in the global IPv4 pool and, in February 2011, the IANA allocated the last unused IPv4 address space in this pool to each of the five RIRs.

Each of the RIRs now hold a limited supply of unused IPv4 address space that they can assign to their members. We cannot predict how long the supply of address space will last. At a certain point in the future, it may no longer be possible to acquire additional IPv4 address space from your RIR. As only IPv6 addresses will be available, you will need IPv6 addresses to ensure that your networks can grow.


Unless businesses act now to safeguard their networks, the future expansion of the Internet could be compromised. IPv6 is the next generation of IP addressing. Designed to account for the future growth of the Internet, the pool of IPv6 addresses contains 340 trillion, trillion, trillion unique addresses. This huge number of addresses is expected to accommodate the predicted growth and innovation of the Internet and Internet-related services over the coming years.


What's the hurry?

Although the IANA's pool of available IPv4 addresses is exhausted, the RIPE NCC can still assign IPv4 addresses to its members from its own reserves of IPv4 address space. We cannot predict how long this supply will last. IPv4 addresses and IPv6 addresses can't communicate directly with each other. So, before IPv6 addresses can be used to access the Internet, your organisation's networks, services and products need to be IPv6 compatible or enabled. This requires planning and investment in time, equipment and training. New hardware and software is required to make networks ready for an IPv6-based Internet. Find out more about transitioning mechanisms.

How can my technical staff get the training they need?

There are many IPv6 training course options available, from online education to face-to-face training.

If your organisation is a member of the RIPE NCC, your staff can attend the RIPE NCC's Basic IPv6 Training Course or Advanced IPv6 Training Course free of charge. These courses provide information on how to obtain IPv6 addresses and how to prepare your deployment plan.

Be Ready

How will my customers be affected by the deployment of IPv6 in my networks?

End users of the Internet may not notice any difference when using the Internet with an IPv6 address or an IPv4 address. However, if you do not invest in IPv6 infrastructure now, in the future there may be parts of the Internet that your customers cannot reach with an IPv4 address if the destination is on an IPv6-only network.

What needs to be done?

  • Network operators should ensure that their networks are IPv6 enabled and can be used by their customers to access other IPv6 networks.
  • Software producers should ensure that that their software is IPv6 compliant.
  • Hardware vendors should ensure that their products are IPv6 compatible.
  • Content providers should prepare networks so that they are accessible using IPv6 as well as IPv4.

How can I get IPv6 addresses for my networks?

If you're located in the RIPE NCC's service region (Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia), you can get an IPv6 address allocation from the RIPE NCC. If you are not located in this region, you will need to contact the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for your region.