IPV6 /48 Address Space

How many addresses are there in a /48 IPV6 assignment. The short answer: a lot a lot more than one can imagine.

The answer to the above question has to be understood in the context of the total address space of IPV6 protocol. Total IP address of IPV6 is 2^128 or 3.4*10^38. Let’s put this into a different perspective.

An average grain of sand is 0.67 mg.
The mass of the Earth is about 6 thousand billion billion ton.
It takes about 9000 billion billion billion sands to make up the mass of an Earth.
The IPV6 address space can address each grain of sand in 38 million objects the size of Earth.

There are a number of IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) RFCs (Request for comments) that cover the assignment of IPV6 address space to end-customer sites. /48 assignment is one of them. Address space for a /48 assignment is 2^80 or 1.2*10^24. Again the following example might help to visualize the number.

Number of cell in a human body is estimated as 50 million million.
Total world population is about 7 billion.
A single /48 assignment will have enough IP addresses for each cell of all human beings in the world and with about 200% in reserve.

What can one do with so many IP addresses? Perhaps you can offer a service to tag an IP address to each cell of each and every person in the world (provided you can find a way to do so). This suggestion is a jest of course. But the huge IP address space of IPV6 is likely to open up many yet to be tapped business opportunities.

3 Aug 2012

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