by Josh Evans
As you may know, the world is quickly running out of available IPv4 addresses. Some basic math highlights why. IPv4 addresses are limited to a 32-bit address space. This means that there are roughly 4 billion possible addresses on the internet. To put this into perspective, there were roughly 7 billion people on the planet in 2011. This equates to less than one IP address per person, which is not sufficient for the needs of a global internet community and supporting infrastructure.
Enter IPv6, the next-generation Internet protocol, which has a 128-bit address space. This equates to ~4.8×1028 addresses for each of those seven billion people alive in 2011. This is more than enough for you to have IP addresses for your computer, mobile phone, connected TV, refrigerator, toaster, and coffee maker with room to spare.
In order to support the global expansion of the Netflix streaming service and ease the growing burden of IPv4 address exhaustion on ISPs, Netflix is proud to be participating in the World IPv6 Launch on June 6, 2012. This is an event in which “major Internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world are coming together to permanently enable IPv6 for their products and services”.
For Netflix, our initial IPv6 deployment involves the Netflix website and video streaming on the PC and Mac platforms. We will follow on with other streaming platforms. There’s no action required for Netflix members. We’ll continue to support IPv4, and IPv6 will simply work when your ISP “lights up” support in their networks.
We will follow up with another post soon to share the technical details about our deployment. Stay tuned…
Josh Evans is director of streaming infrastructure, responsible for Netflix services which support streaming playback and device activation. If you are interested in joining Streaming Infrastructure or another team at Netflix, apply at www.netflix.com/jobs.