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February 17, 2012 / itsnobody

How many addresses can IPv6 hold?

I don’t know which idiot (or idiots) decided to go with IPv4 when developing a “world-wide network”.

IPv4 (even with NAT) has already approached it’s limits (see IPv4 address exhaustion).

IPv6 is the future.

264 = 1.844674407 x 1019 is IPv6’s standard subnet size.
2128 = 3.402823669 x 1038  is IPv6’s address space size.

IPv6 has an address space size of 2128 and a standard subnet size of 264, but anyone can throw around a bunch of numbers, let’s instead use a number comparison chart so you can see how the numbers compare.

The numbers in this chart are listed in ascending order (lowest to highest) in scientific notation (mostly).

Number Represents
1.600 x 101 Average number of shark attacks per year in the US.
1.050 x 102 Years since Einstein began imagining up General Relativity (as of 2012).
8.760 x 103 Hours in a year.
3.271 x 104 Deaths caused by motor vehicles in the US in 2010.
3.285 x 104 People who committed suicide in Japan in the year 2009.
1.600 x 105 Base pairs in endosymbiotic bacteria.
8.700 x 106 Number of species that exist in the world.
4.594 x 107 Internet users in Nigeria as of 2010.
1.113 x 108 Superbowl viewers in 2012.
4.295 x 109 IPv4 address space size (32-bit).
4.434 x 109 Earth’s total human population size in the year 1980.
6.634 x 1011 John D. Rockafeller’s total net worth in 2007 US dollars.
5.660 x 1013 US total debt (as of the time that this post was made) in US dollars.
7.500 x 1018 Estimated number of grains of sand on all the beaches in the world.
1.845 x 1019 IPv6 standard subnet size (64-bit).
3.260 x 1020 Estimated number of gallons of water in the world.
1022 Estimated number of stars in the universe.
4.339 x 1026 Nanoseconds that have passed since the Big Bang.
3.156x 1031 Unique IPv6 addresses that would be assigned after 1 trillion years if a new IPv6 address was assigned at every picosecond.
3.403 x 1038 IPv6 address space size (128-bit).
1063 Archimedes’ estimate of how many grains of sand would fill the universe.
1081 Estimated total number of atoms in the universe.
1.798 x 10308 Max value of a 1024-bit or 1 kilobit unsigned integer.
101050 Possible chess games.
Infinity Prime numbers that exist.

NOTE: A maximum of 4 significant figures are displayed in this chart (mostly).

Given IPv6’s address space size and IPv6’s standard subnet size it would be virtually impossible for IPv6 to ever reach it’s limitations.

IPv6’s standard subnet size alone is over 2.4 times greater than the total number of grains of sand on all the beaches in the world.

IPv6’s address space size is literally over 10 million trillion times the total number of grains of sand on all the beaches in the world.

To give people another idea of how large the address space is, if each human being on Earth, each grain of sand on all the beaches in the world, each gallon of water, each nanosecond that passed since the Big Bang, and each star in the universe had all been assigned their own unique IPv6 address there would be still be easily more than 3.4 x 1038 unique IPv6 addresses leftover remaining. That’s how large the IPv6 address space is.

We also know with 100% certainty that we would never ever have to worry about the unique IPv6 addresses space limitations because if a new unique IPv6 address was assigned at every picosecond (one trillionth of a second) even after a period of one trillion years there would still be lots and lots of unique IPv6 addresses available.

So we can really freely assign as many unique IPv6 addresses as we want without having to worry about anything.

The quicker people switch to IPv6 the better!



Leave a Comment
  1. Doctoral student / Dec 20 2015 2:34 pm

    There seems to be quite a bit of bias in this post. I suspect that the person who posted this may suffer the same issues that the creators of version 4 did. I don’t think they can imagine the vastness of things that are to come with the Internet of Things. ISPs are handing out /48 or 1.2 septillion version 6 addresses out to every business customer regardless of their need. Small business customers only require 1 maybe 5. If they continue handing out 1.2 septillion say every picosecond, then how long before there are no more left to hand out? Then what, you try to get them back like we have been doing with version 4? Or we create a new protocol like we did with version 6? The problem is not how many exist the problem is in how they are distributed.

  2. Anonymous / Dec 5 2014 6:35 am

    I wouldn’t call the implementers of IPv4 idiots, they probably just couldn’t imagine the vast applications of IP that early in internet development.

  3. ιατρικες μελετες / Oct 11 2014 5:55 pm

    Πρώτη φορά επισκέπτομαι το site σου και είμαι πολύ
    ευχαριστημένος που έχει τόσο ενδιαφέροντα άρθρα.

  4. funonly / Oct 6 2014 5:03 pm

    Σερφάρω στο ιντερνέτ σήμερα για περισσότερες από τέσσερις
    ώρες και δεν βρήκα πολλά άρθρα
    που να είναι εξίσου ενδιαφέροντα με το δικό σας.
    Πιστεύω ότι αν όλοι οι bloggers των
    blkgs έφτιαχναν τέτοιο ποιοτικό περιεχόμενο
    το ιντερνετ, θα ήταν πολύ καλύτερο για όλους.

  5. Anonymous / Jul 2 2013 12:15 am

    On the contrary, IPv6 is one of the stupidest things ever invented. Any machine with an IPv6 address is vulnerable to a certain attack that it is impossible to defend against.

    • fwilson / Jan 11 2014 11:03 am

      And what would that be?

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