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Change of Address

There's a new Internet protocol in town. Is it time to upgrade?

By Amanda C. Kooser

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You may have heard that the world has a shortage of IP Internetaddresses. For its part, the United States has largely shrugged offthe worry because it has more IP addresses than any other countryand isn't in danger of running out for a while. But thatdoesn't mean we should rest easy. The IP address systemcurrently in use is called Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4). Sayhello to its replacement: Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6).You'll want to be on a first-name basis with IPv6 because,eventually, your business hardware and software will have to workwith it. Companies that deal with the Department of Defense alreadydo. The rest of you can take your time in converting, but when youupgrade networking equipment like routers, check that your newhardware and software is IPv6-compatible. It won't cost youextra, but it will be an important step, especially if you dobusiness overseas with countries that are already moving along theupgrade path. (The latest Apple and Windows OSes have compatibilitybuilt-in.)

The IPv6 is touted for its greater security, peer-to-peerpossibilities and almost unlimited supply of available addresses.Alex Lightman, chairman of Charmed Technology Inc. in Los Angeles-makers ofwearable Internet products-and the North American IPv6 GlobalSummit, says, "It's one of those things that peopledon't jump up and down about, but it changes the world like ZIPcodes or prefixes on phone numbers." Conceivably, Lightmansays, every square foot on the planet could receive its ownaddress.

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