NEW YORK – Major information technology and telecommunications companies around the world, including Google Inc. of the United States and KDDI Corp. of Japan, on Wednesday began operating the next-generation Internet protocol with almost unlimited addresses for use by computing devices.
When the new protocol, IPv6, gains ground, it is expected that devices such as home electronics and electric vehicles can freely be connected to the Internet, paving the way for constructing a system to control overall electricity consumption across a whole community.
As the number of Internet users skyrockets with the growing availability of personal computers and portable devices, almost all the approximately 4.3 billion addresses that came with the existing standard, IPv4, were in use by 2011.
With the new protocol, electricity consumption can be controlled by linking lights, air conditioners, electric vehicles and other devices with next-generation power meters, called smart meters.
As every device needs an IP address to connect to the Internet, addresses had been in short supply under the current protocol.
Other companies that are part of the undertaking include Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp., AT&T Inc., Yahoo Inc. and NTT Communications Corp. They will permanently authenticate the new protocol starting Wednesday.
Each company will continue providing services under the existing protocol. According to Google, more than half of the accesses to the company’s search service may originate in the new protocol in six to seven years.
Many personal computers as well as some portable devices can already handle IPv6 addresses.