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Why Adopt IPv6? NTIA Wants Your Thoughts

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An old internet protocol can't support the billions of devices that will soon comprise the internet of things, a Commerce Commerce agency says—but it's not sure how to speed up adoption of the new protocol that could.

Connected devices, "smartwatches to connected refrigerators, furniture and thermostats," need an IP address to get online. IPv4, an older system, can only support about 4.3 billion addresses, while a newer one, in development for more than two decades, could handle more than 340 "undecillion""340 followed by 36 digits," according to a National Telecommunications and Information Administration blog post.

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NTIA is gathering input from the public about how to encourage organizations to adopt IPv6, especially as "current demand has all-but-exhausted the global supply of IPv4 addresses."

Today, just about a third of the country's services work with IPv6, and as the older addresses are harder to acquire, "companies and other organizations that have yet to transition to IPv6 may find it difficult to expand their internet presence."

Specifically, NTIA wants to hear from organizations that have already adopted the new protocol and asks them to describe "the factors and circumstances that influence the decision" to use it, and how that agency can help. NTIA is also asking what kind of planning the IPv6 implementation requires, what the various costs are, and how organizations view the return on investment. 

NTIA may incorporate this information into an IPv6 Best Practice Forum, the blog post said. Organizations have until Oct. 3 to submit comments. 

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