Browse Definitions :

# IPv6 addresses – how many is that in numbers?

IPv6 is our Word of the Day today. The big difference between it andIPv4 is the increase in address space. IPv4 addresses are 32 bits; IPv6 addresses are 128 bits. That’s a lot more, for sure, but what does it look like in numbers? What could we compare it to in real-world terms?

How many IP addresses does IPv6 support? Well, without knowing the exact implementation details, we can get a rough estimate based on the fact that it uses 128 bits. So 2 to the power of 128 ends up being 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 unique IP addresses.

How do you say that, though?  340 trillion, 282 billion, 366 million, 920 thousand, 938 — followed by 24 zeroes.  There’s no short way to say it in numbers without resorting to math.

The very large IPv6 address space supports a total of 2128 (about 3.4×1038) addresses – or approximately 5×1028 (roughly 295) addresses for each of the roughly 6.5 billion (6.5×109) people alive today. In a different perspective, this is 252 addresses for every observable star in the known universe.

Steve Leibson takes a shot at putting it in real world terms. It’s big — grains of sand don’t even enter into it. No, he’s got to take it to the atomic level. Here’s his conclusion:

So we could assign an IPV6 address to EVERY ATOM ON THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH, and still have enough addresses left to do another 100+ earths. It isn’t remotely likely that we’ll run out of IPV6 addresses at any time in the future.

Rob Elamb takes a shot at expressing the number of possible IPv6 addresses in words:

First of all, he’s more precise with his numbers: 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456

And he shows us how to say it:

340- undecillion
282- decillion
366- nonillion
920- octillion
938- septillion
463- sextillion
463- quintillion
607- trillion
431- billion
768- million
211- thousand
456

So, all words, that would look like:

Three hundred and forty undecillion, two hundred and eighty-two decillion, three hundred and sixty-six nonillion, nine hundred and twenty octillion, nine hundred and thirty-eight septillion, four hundred and sixty-three sextillion, four hundred and sixty-three quintillion, three hundred and seventy-four quadrillion, six hundred and seven trillion, four hundred and thirty-one billion, seven hundred and sixty-eight million, two hundred and eleven thousand, four hundred and fifty-six.

That’s a big number.

IPv4 allowed for four billion IP addresses, which must have seemed like plenty at the time. I guess the assumption was that not everyone on the planet would want an IP address and nobody’s coffee maker or toaster would need one. Just goes to show you, you never know.

#### Dig Deeper on Writing for Business

• network traffic

Network traffic is the amount of data that moves across a network during any given time.

• dynamic and static

In general, dynamic means 'energetic, capable of action and/or change, or forceful,' while static means 'stationary or fixed.'

A MAC address (media access control address) is a 12-digit hexadecimal number assigned to each device connected to the network.

• Evil Corp

Evil Corp is an international cybercrime network that uses malicious software to steal money from victims' bank accounts and to ...

• Trojan horse

In computing, a Trojan horse is a program downloaded and installed on a computer that appears harmless, but is, in fact, ...

• quantum key distribution (QKD)

Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a secure communication method for exchanging encryption keys only known between shared parties.

• green IT (green information technology)

Green IT (green information technology) is the practice of creating and using environmentally sustainable computing.

• benchmark

A benchmark is a standard or point of reference people can use to measure something else.

• spatial computing

Spatial computing broadly characterizes the processes and tools used to capture, process and interact with 3D data.

• talent acquisition

Talent acquisition is the strategic process employers use to analyze their long-term talent needs in the context of business ...

• employee retention

Employee retention is the organizational goal of keeping productive and talented workers and reducing turnover by fostering a ...

• hybrid work model

A hybrid work model is a workforce structure that includes employees who work remotely and those who work on site, in a company's...

• BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store)

BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) is a business model that allows consumers to shop and place orders online and then pick up ...

• real-time analytics

Real-time analytics is the use of data and related resources for analysis as soon as it enters the system.

• database marketing

Database marketing is a systematic approach to the gathering, consolidation and processing of consumer data.

Close