IP addresses are like telephone numbers: every device on the Internet needs a unique one to be connected.
The current version of the Internet Protocol (version 4) has a 32-bit address field which allows for just over 4 billion addresses. The rapid evolution of the Internet, impossible to predict almost 40 years ago when the IP protocol was designed, highlighted its limitations and led to a quick realisation that some radical changes would be needed to allow for future growth.
IP version 6 (IPv6) is the next version of the IP protocol. This became a standard in 1998 to provide an alternative to IPv4 because the address space exhaustion was already foreseen. The IPv6 address field provides 340 undecillion (1036) addresses, or put differently, 56 billion-billion-billion addresses for every person on earth. In essence, IPv6 will not just solve the current address exhaustion problem, but will prepare us for the internet of the future in which almost every device in the home has a unique IP address.
Colt recognizes the importance of upgrading its Tier-1 Pan-European backbone to IPv6 in order to support the need of ubiquitous and pervasive Internet services. For this reason, Colt moved from “research” to “development” of IPv6 in 2010. In February 2011, a successful proof-of-concept trial was run at the IPv6 World event in Paris, and a customer beta trial commenced in June of the same year. A formal launch of basic IPv6 support as a standard product feature is expected later on in 2011, with the IPv6-enablement of the full IP product and feature set continuing throughout the rest of the year and into 2012.