340 Undecillion Soccer Balls!

One of the most significant features of IPv6 is the vast number of available address it has to offer. The 128-bit addressing approach the designers of IPv6 created offers over

340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 addresses.

A Google search reveals a number of entries that attempt to describe the enormity of this address space. An often quoted factoid is that IPv6 could provide each and every square micrometer of the earth’s surface with 5,000 unique addresses. What’s a micrometer? About one tenth the diameter of a droplet of fog!

For those of you who are soccer enthusiasts and avid fans of Brian Greene’s, “The Elegant Universe,” think about lining up 340 undecillion (or 340 sextillion as the British say) soccer balls end-to-end to see where in the Universe that would take us.

Would those soccer balls (or footballs as the rest of the world say) encircle the earth? Extend from here to the Moon? To the Sun? To Alpha Centauri, Earth’s 2nd closest star 4 light years away?

Would all of those black and white dodecahedrons stretch across the Milky Way? Would they extend to the center of the Universe itself?

In fact, 340 undecillion soccer balls would stretch across the circumference of the entire known universe! And, get this, the string of soccer balls would actually wrap around our universe nearly 200 billion times!

The IPv6 Address space is indeed a vast number. Most importantly, it frees network designers and application developers from the burden of managing a scarce supply of addresses. It opens up the possibility of extending the internet’s reach to all types of new devices, appliances, sensors, you name it…if it has electronics, it can have its own unique address.

Feel free to check our math and let us know if it all adds up. If you have other interesting factoids on IPv6 drop us an email.