It wasn't long ago at all when the Internet was first opened up to public use, 1994 I believe. Since then, it has seen explosive growth. Long ago, the need for an upgrade to the Internet Protocol (IP) was foreseen. A new version of IP (IPv6) has been designed and standardized. In spite of an ever increasingly glaring need for the new protocol, is still has yet to be adopted.
Now we are counting the months until our current system for handling IP addresses will be broken. The interesting thing to me is that research in this area seems so dormant. I get the feeling that we feel that the problem has long since been solved (IPv6). But is that really true? I have to wonder. If that was the case, why would adoption be lagging to the point that it is today?
Is it the case that IPv6 doesn't really solve the problem? IPv6 is not backwards compatible with IPv4. Is that why it may indeed not be a very good solution?
Perhaps backwards compatibility is far more important than we had supposed. Evidence for this lies in the fact that current efforts to implement IPv6 involve dual stacks, which means running IPv4 and IPv6 stacks concurrently. In other words, we are making systems which are backwards compatible, even though IPv6 itself isn't.