The Second Internet
Chapter 1 – Introduction
1.1 – Why IPv6 is Important
The First Internet (which I now call the Legacy Internet) is 27 years old. Think about what kind of CPUs,
amount of RAM, and which Operating System you were using in 1983. Probably a Z80 8-bit CPU with 64
Kilobytes of RAM and CPM/80, or if you were a businessman, an 8088 “16-bit” CPU and DOS 1.0. If you
were really lucky, you might have had an expensive Hard Disk Drive with a massive TEN megabytes of
storage. What, many of you reading this weren’t even alive then? Ask your father what personal
computing was like in 1983. I’ve been building, programming and applying personal computers since my
Altair 8800 in 1975. Hard to realize that is 35 years ago. Since 1983, network speeds have increased
from 10 Mbit/sec to 100 Gbit/sec (10,000 fold increase). But we are still using essentially the same
Internet Protocol. Think it’s about time for an upgrade?
The First Internet has impacted the lives of more than a billion people. It has led to unprecedented
advances in computing, communications, collaboration, research and entertainment (not to mention
time-wasting and even less savory activities). The Internet is now understood to be highly strategic in
every modern country’s economy. It is difficult to conceive of a country that could exist without it. Many
enormous companies (such as Google) would not have been possible (or even needed) without it.
Staggering amounts of wealth have been created (and consumed) by it. It made “snail mail” (paper mail
physically delivered) follow the Pony Express into oblivion (amazingly, governments everywhere are
trying to keep Post Offices going, even though most lose gigantic amounts of money every year). The
number of e-mails sent daily is 3 to 4 times the number of first class mails sent annually (both in the
Estimates are that there are currently about 1.3 billion nodes (computers, servers or other network
devices) connected to the First Internet. Many of those have more than one user (as in Cyber cafes).
1.1.1 – But Wait, There’s More….
If you think that’s impressive, wait until you see what its rapidly approaching successor, the Second
Internet (made possible by IPv6) will be. Entirely new and far more flexible communication and
connectivity paradigms are coming that will make e-mail and texting seem quaint. Major areas of the
economy, such as telephony, entertainment, almost all consumer electronic devices (MP3 players, TVs,
radios) will be heavily impacted, or even collapse into the Second Internet as Yet More Network
Applications (like e-mail and web did in the First Internet). The number of connected nodes will likely
explode in the next 5-10 years by a factor of a hundred or more (not by 100%, I said by a factor of 100,
which is 10,000%). The First Internet (the one you are using today, based on IPv4) that you think is so
pervasive and so cool, is less than 1% of the expected size of the Second Internet. One of the popular
terms being used to describe it is pervasive computing. That means it is going to be everywhere.
1.1.2 – Flash! The First Internet is Broken!