Do we have flying cars, robot servants, jetpacks and time travel machines yet? Nope, not yet... but tomorrow we will be getting a lot more IP addresses when many of the top websites, service providers and equipment manufacturers celebrate World IPv6 Launch Day by transitioning to the IPv6 standard.
As Google points out in its official blog, the implementation of IPv6 will expand the amount of IP addresses capable of being issued out. Under IPv4, the communications protocol that currently directs most traffic on the Internet, about 4.3 billion IP addresses are allowed. Tomorrow, when more companies officially adopt IPv6, up to 2^128 IP addresses will be allowed. This is important given there are over 7 billion people in the world, 2.8 billion of which use some 11 billion Internet-enabled devices. Essentially, the Internet won't need to be upgraded in a similar capacity ever again.
Last year, the organization which oversees the allocation of IP addresses, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, ran out of IP addresses to give. This created a problem, as Internet users would have to begin sharing IP addresses if a new Internet Protocol weren't put into place. Such a situation could have resulted in potentially unsafe Internet usage. Now, however, there will be plenty of IP addresses to go around, with companies and services such as AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, Facebook, Google, Microsoft Bing, Time Warner and others participating in the deployment of IPv6; many have already implemented the new standard, however.
Google's created a handy video, seen below, describing the potential problems that would have occurred if the Internet didn't undergo this advancement.
Source: Google Blog