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Teaching IPv6

I taught IPv6 in my networks class today. There is nothing in my job, or any job I've ever had before, that is more fun than explaining to my class just how gosh darn big the IPv6 address space is. It's huge. As David Letterman said of the giant doorknob, "it's just plain big." I coined the neologism "bodacity" just for the sake of talking about how enormous it is. (I'll leave the meaning of that word as an exercise, but here's a hint: think "tenacious" and "tenacity").

When I first started teaching IPv6, I would tell the class "the number of addresses is greater than the combined weight in grams of Marlon Brando and myself!".  Unfortunately, Marlon Brando has passed away since then, and I've been casting about for another iconic fat person. I had a brief glimmer of hope that I'd found one when I read the following passage in AJ Jacobs The Know-It-All

[The dragonfly] can eat it's own weight in 30 minutes. Just like Rogert Ebert.

I was really excited to find a good replacement for Marlon Brando, but since then Roger Ebert has contracted mouth cancer. Not only would it be cruel to make fun of a cancer patient, but he appears to have lost weight.

Now I just make do with Michael Moore.

Of course I don't just make jokes. I tell them that 2128 addresses are available. I tell them this is more than enough for every person on earth to have as many addresses as there are in the IPv4 address space. And that there are enough addresses to cover every square meter of earth with 7*1023 IPv6 addresses. Then I add that that number is bigger than the size of the IPv4 address space.

Damn that address space is big.