Potential Impacts on Communications from IPv4 Exhaustion & IPv6 Transition
Because broadband Internet access has become essential to the United States and the rest of the world, the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses and the transition to IPv6 could result in significant, but not insurmountable, problems for broadband Internet services. In the short term, to permit the network to continue to grow, engineers have developed a series of kludges. These kludges include more efficient use of the IPv4 address resource, conservation, and the sharing of IPv4 addresses through the use of Network Address Translation (NAT).
The short term solutions are necessary because there is not enough time to completely migrate the entire public Internet to "native IPv6" where end users can communicate entirely via IPv6. Network protocol transitions require significant work and investment, and with the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses looming, there is insufficient time to complete the full IPv6 transition. This paper explains why, with the exhaustion of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses looming, there is insufficient time to complete the full transition to IPv6. The paper also explains how the implementation of IPv4 workarounds, while making that old protocol more efficient, are creating new problems of their own.