Internet connectivity in China has always been a somewhat controversial topic. Most people know that China doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure in place to accommodate a high amount of bandwidth. Moreover, the country’s government isn’t too keen on letting people access the information they desire. While that last part may not change soon, the country is boosting IPv6 adoption. A plan has been announced to ensure this evolution will take place by 2025.

China Wants to Embrace IPv6

It is no secret that the number of available IPv4 addresses is dwindling at an alarming rate. More devices are being brought online now than ever before, and they all need to have a unique IP address. Under the current IPv4 framework, there won’t be sufficient room to accommodate the next generation of Internet-based devices as there aren’t enough spare IP addresses. Evolving to a new standard in the form of IPv6 is the only viable solution. Unfortunately, that will not be as easy as most people would assume.

It seemed this logical evolution would face a lot of resistance in China. The country has a very unusual internet infrastructure, and accommodating groundbreaking changes such as IPv6 is not easy under any circumstances. However, it seems China’s Communist Party is making some positive moves in this regard. The party recently unveiled its plan to increase IPv6 adoption between now and 2025. Its first goal is reaching 200 million IPv6-capable devices by the end of 2018.

If things go according to plan, this initiative should result in 500 million devices by 2020, and the rest of China will get on board by 2025. Until now, IPv4 has been the dominant Internet Protocol with over 4.3 billion addresses in existence. However, everyone knew the number of available addresses would be exhausted sooner rather than later. Despite the introduction of IPv6 several years ago, not much has happened in terms of adoption these past few years.

Plenty of countries around the world – including China – managed to delay the switch to IPv6 by recycling old IPv4 addresses. This was always a temporary solution first and foremost, and it seems things will finally start heading in the right direction over the next eight years. Rest assured there will be other countries taking a similar approach. One also has to acknowledge that if China switches to the new standard, the IPv4 option will remain viable in most parts of the world for a few extra years.

It is evident the best course of action would be to see all countries switch over to IPv6 before this issue has to be revisited again. With China leading the charge in a positive manner for a change, it is evident we may see more countries focusing on this impending change. Most computers around the world can easily upgrade to IPv6, assuming one’s internet service provider supports the change. In the Western world, this is far less of an issue right now. At the same time, it remains to be seen how things will evolve in this regard.

Topics like this show there are some big changes on the horizon in the world of technology. While not everyone sees the difference between IPv4 and IPv6 as important, the matter shouldn’t be ignored by any means. There is plenty of reason to upgrade to the new standard, and zero reason to keep delaying this upgrade for much longer. That being said, it will still take several years for us to see any meaningful improvement in this regard.