EU pushes for rapid adoption of IPv6

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The European Union wants a quarter of businesses, public authorities and households to move to the next-generation Internet Protocol by 2010, as the current system is running out of addresses..

Organisations and consumers are being pushed towards IPv6 in a bid to release an "almost unlimited" number of web addresses.

The move is akin to longer telephone numbers that allowed more numbers to be added to the network in the last century.

EU officials said that the need to embrace IPv6 is essential if Europeans are to benefit from the impending arrival of a new generation of web-enabled devices.

These include smart tags in shops, factories and airports, as well as net-enabled intelligent heating and home lighting systems.

Only 700 million (or 16 percent) of the 4.3 billion addresses allowed by the address system most people use now are still available. The current system, which dates back to 1984, is based on IPv4.

While great strides have been made in Japan, where Nippon Telecom and Telegraph has already implemented a public IPv6 network, the future protocol has yet to gain traction in the US and Europe.

The EU is now calling on leading websites and operators to help build IPv6 momentum.

"The European Commission wants the most important websites to take the lead, and aims to receive commitments from at least 100 top European site operators, such as broadcasters or online news services, before the end of 2008," it said.
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