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Protocol Politics (Information Revolution and Global Politics Series) Hardcover – 21 Aug 2009


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"How can a string 32 (or 128) of binary numbers get involved in international debates about the Global South, citizens' rights, market economics and Bush era unilateralism? In this lucid work, DeNardis weaves a wonderful tale about internet addressing - demonstrating the wider thesis that the arcane world of standards setting is a site of some of today's great questions, and that we as citizens should understand and be engaged in these debates."--Geoffrey C. Bowker, Mellon Professor of Cyberscholarship, School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh "A fascinating account of a society-wide technological upgrade that affects us all. DeNardis uses the ongoing drama of a new Internet protocol - IPv6 - to explore in depth how standards and governance are related."--Milton L. Muller, Dean, Information Studies, Syracuse University -- Milton Mueller "A fascinating account of a societywide technological upgrade that affects us all. DeNardis uses the ongoing drama of a new Internet protocol -- IPv6 -- to explore in depth how standards and governance are related." Milton L. Mueller , Professor, Information Studies, Syracuse University

About the Author

Laura DeNardis is a Professor in the School of Communication at American University, Washington, D.C., and the coauthor of Information Technology in Theory.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
v4 -> v6 ; a delayed transition 3 Nov 2009
By W Boudville - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Even for those of us [me] who have used the Internet for decades, DeNardis has provided a nice favour by analysing how it has changed as a result of immense success and growth. The book largely revolves around the transition from IPv4 to IPv6. The latter was first proposed around 1991, just before the Web, when Internet usage really took off. But already in 91, net experts foresaw a day when the 4 billion address space of v4 would be exhausted. Hence the first proposals for IPng, which would become relabelled as IPv6.

The biggest demand is from the continued industrialising of developed countries, especially China and India. The continued distribution of v4 addresses would increasingly be seen as inequitable, and styming their growth.

The book describes stop gap solutions that have thus far reduced the end date of v4 address exhaustion. Notably has been NAT - Network Address Translation. But all this just delays an inevitable.

When will that be? The book shies away from providing a date. It explains that currently only some 0.3% of Internet usage is v6; all the rest is v4. Many deadlines have come and gone, often imposed top down by governments like Japan, Korea and Europe. The difficulties of transitioning from a global network of v4 and v6 nodes to just v6 seem hard. The book suggests that one trigger might be that actual exhaustion. While another possibility could be a killer app that needs v6.

Interestingly, the book points out that the purported increased security of v6, via IPSec, is not strictly confined to v6. IPSec has now been ported to v4. Ironically, the current low usage of IPSec under v6 has meant that there could be holes in it not found by sufficient testing and usage.
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