The days of IPv4

MightyMartian writes:

“Tell me, Grandpa, what was it like in the days of IPv4?” young Suzy asked as she played with the IP wireless transmitters in her golden locks of hair.

“Well Suzy,” Grandpa said, his mind on the distant past, “back then we only had 32 bit addressing, and much of it was provisioned out to various regional entities, with large corporate interests sitting on whole chunks of the space. We had these things called NAT routers.”

“Sounds scary, Grandpa.” Suzy shivered.

“It was.” Grandpa replied. “The first NAT routers could only support FTP and IRC, and folks using some chat programs could barely get their software to work at all. Still NAT did okay, for a while.”

“Then what happened Grandpa?” Suzy asked, enthralled.

“Well, as I recall, the first problems came when handheld wireless devices became more common. They had to sit behind various other networks, without direct connectivity. Proprietary solutions abounded, and connectivity was in the hands of large corporate communications giants. Everyone knew that IPv4 had been in trouble for many years, but some folks said ‘NAT’s all we need’ while others didn’t think there was a crisis at all, and even if there was one coming, it was nothing to worry about.”

“But there was, wasn’t there Grandpa?” Suzy knew the best part of the story was coming.

“Very much so.” Grandpa said after a moment. “You see, even with NAT and various other networks between the IPv4 network and the average person’s devices, the Internet was growing too fast. The limited supply of IP addresses as beginning to slow the expansion of the Internet. Finally, with the great IP Famine of ’18, we had no choice. IPv6 was rolled out. Some folks were mad, because they had put their heads in the sand and refused to recognize the problem had been coming for a while. It costs those people lots of money, and some either had to put up with being stuck behind NAT routers and losing out on new functionality or simply going out of business.”

Suzy laughed. “They were very silly people, Grandpa!”

Grandpa nodded. “Yes, they were, but most of us survived. Now it’s time to go. Don’t forget your data glasses and your book tablet. The last flight to Tokyo leaves in an hour, and I promised I’d get you home before dinner.”