Senior informatics students create capstone to save internet

The technology-consulting firm, Concentric Communications, comprised of five FHSU seniors, working with adjunct professor Eric Helm, has recently completed a document detailing transition techniques from the widely used Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) to Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6).

Chase Killer, student member of Concentric Communication, explained that the group was formed five students did not have a capstone group, so they came up with the idea for a technology-consulting firm. The group developed a business plan, presentation and created a document to guide service providers to move their core servers from IPv4 to IPv6, working from the beginning of the spring 2014 semester until the last Friday of the semester. The group presented to the INT faculty board and guests at the Robins Center last Friday.

Killer said the hardest part of project was the shear amount of information they had to sort through, because many of the methods they researched for extending IPv4 life had already become obsolete.

“IPv4 improves network speed and allows for more IP addresses,” Killer said.

IPv4 addresses are quickly exhausting, prompting the switch to IPv6. According to the Number Resource Organization website, IPv4 allows for an approximate total of 4.3 million addresses and the American Registry for Internet Numbers is down to their final 16 million addresses. Conservative estimates show that IPv4 addresses will be exhausted by late 2014 to early 2015.

IPv6 contains an exponentially larger address registry, approximately 3.4 x 10^38 addresses. Currently only 3% of Internet users use this protocol. And the problem is getting worse quickly.

“Even my sister’s car has an IP address. Pretty much everything you’re going to own in the future will have some kind of connectivity to the Internet,” Killer said.

For individuals accessing the Internet on home and mobile devices, the shortage means users will not be able to connect future devices to the Internet.

The project for the consulting firm was presented on request by Helm from Yellow Dog Network out of Kansas City. The group has not currently set plans to continue developing the consulting firm. The Concentric Communication document outlining methods to assist Internet Service Providers in making their networks IPv6 capable is available free online and Killer says the group hopes to keep the document up-to-date.

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