Earthlink Plays With IPv6

IPv6 doesn’t get much attention in the US, but is already being widely adopted by companies of all colors and hues in Asia, particularly in broadband-heavy nations like Japan and South Korea. IPv6, which stands for Internet Protocol version six is the next generation protocol and is supposed to replace IPv4, a 20-year-old protocol that has withstood the test of time admirably. However as more and more devices (such as our TiVos and cellphones) get connected to the Internet, we face a likely shortage of IPv4 addresses.

IPv6 has been around for a few years. It uses a new addressing scheme that allows 340 undecillion addresses. That’s 34 followed by 37 zeroes, enough addresses to meet current and future demand for a long, long time…..The Office of Management and Budget has set a June 2008 deadline for federal agencies to switch to the new protocol. (from The Roanoke Times)

In the US, we have not paid much attention to it, so perhaps when a dear friend sent me a link to Earthlink labs, I was pleasantly surprised. What a lovely way to kick off 2006! Earthlink Labs came up with a hack that turns a Linksys WRT54G, wireless access point into an IPv6 appliance/router. More details can be found at: here.

Dewayne Hendricks says he downloaded the firmware upgrade and tried out the hack on a spare WRT54G and was able to download the firmware and get it configured and working in less than thirty minutes. MacOS X works just fine on IPv6 and is quite easy to configure. In other words, this will allow him to “play in both the IPv4 and v6 world from the same network and with the same computer for just the cost of a WRT54G, which is about $50. Pretty neat!”

Update: Actually, Mac OS-X has native support for IPv6 and you can quite easily connect a IPv4 computer to a IPv6 network.