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What is IPv6 and why does it matter to you?

So you heard about something called IPv6 and it sounds like it should be important to you somehow. After all, people are saying that the Internet is full and doomed without this mysterious IPv6 thing. But what is it? Do you need to do something with it? Is it bigger than a breadbox?

The folks at a research service called FOCUS have put together the convenient — and large — infographic above to sum up everything you really need to know about IPv6, but if that's somehow too much information for you, here's the gist:

Every machine that's connected to the Internet has an IP address — a number like 192.168.1.1 —  assigned to it. Each of those numbers consists of four sets of digits — ranging from 0 to 255 — separated by periods. If you crunch the math, that means that there are about 4 billion possible IP addresses. And it turns out that we've already managed to use up all of those 4 billion possible IP addresses. That means we need a way to create new ones. And that's what IPv6 is — a way to create more numbers to assign to our Internet-connected machines.

But like we said, that's the short version of things. Click on the infographic for a nice, thorough overview of the entire situation.

Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. If she wasn't obsessed with Twitter, she'd tell you to go like her on Facebook