Cool Opportunities at InfoComm & IPV6 Day

Today we have some news items to report. First up, for those of you going to InfoComm next week, I would like to bring your attention to a few very cool opportunities to get up close and personal with great gear and great people. And there’s some free food involved as well.


CCI Solutions has partnered with several key companies to put together exclusive church tours of the booths, giving you access to the reps, demos and breakfast. On Wednesday, Avid is hosting a breakfast with Robert Scovill, which is pretty much worth the price of admission right there. Robert will go over his favorite features of the Venue system and give you some tips on using it more effectively. Having watched several of his webinars, I can tell you that this will be a valuable time, even for non-Venue users. Later in the day, there will be an exclusive tour and demo at the Shure booth, and another one at the Harmon/JBL/Soundcraft booth.

On Thursday, Roland will be providing breakfast and showing off their latest products. Later that day, you can check out the Midas and Extron booths, again with the exclusive church tours. What I like about these events is that you get to talk with the reps about the equipment that will work well in the church, which is not always the same as what works in other venues. 

Reservations are required for the breakfast events, and recommended for the other booth tours. Here’s a PDF that will give you full information and a link for registration. If you’re heading to InfoComm anyway, this may be a great way to maximize your time there.

Now, you may or may not have noticed that today is IPV6 day. What is IPV6 day? It’s sort of a trial run, or beta test, of the new Internet Protocol Version 6 numbering system that will be adopted sometime within the next year or so. More than 225 of the world’s larger internet companies are going to switch on IPV6 for a day and see how it goes.

As a techie, you probably know that all current IP addresses are based on a XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX numbering system. Basically, it’s 32 bits, and thus supports 4,294,967,296 addresses. Yes, that’s 4 Billion and change, but believe it or not, we’re running out. Some experts say there is only a few month supply left of IP addresses, and then we’re done; hence IPV6 (others argue we've already run out and are now recycling; whatever, we need to change it up). Rather than just going to 64 bit addressing, IPV6 takes a Go Big or Go Home approach and goes all the way to 128 bits. Because of the way this math works, this doesn’t give us just 4 times as many addresses, oh no. IPV6 paves the way for approximately 340 Undecillion addresses. Never heard of Undecillion? Think of it this way.

You have Millions, Billions, Trillions and Quintillions, right? Undecillion is the sixth one after Trillions. It’s a number so big, we have to use 1036 to describe it. Essentially, IPV6 is an unlimited pool of addresses; indeed, IPV6 provides 5 x 1028 addresses for each of the 6.8 Billion people living on the planet right now.

What does this mean to you? Probably not that much, at least not yet. Once IPV6 rolls out, however, some network equipment may need upgrading. Almost all our computers are ready for IPV6, so they will require just a little re-configuration. Network switches should be OK, as they typically just pass along whatever data is sent them. Other items like cable & DSL modems however may require firmware updates or replacements. For example, a DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem will not support IPV6; but a DOCSIS 3.0 will. Depending on how your church connects to the internet, you may have to make some changes. 

I will not claim to be an expert, or even well read on this subject, so I suggest you do some research if you are responsible for IT at your church. I for one, am glad I’m not, so I’ll only be looking at it from the perspective of an end user. But it’s kind of a fun think to talk about anyway, being geeks and all.

Is anyone an expert on IPV6 who would like to shed more light on this topic? Leave a comment below. And don’t forget to register for the InfoComm sessions if you’re going!

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