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Why Bosch rigs up IPv6?

ip adresses Source: iStock/KuzovlevA

Bosch prepares for the next version of the internet, Web 3.0: The Internet of Things and Services is a smarter web, enabling better ways to share information not only for computers, but also for even the most common things of our daily life. Predicted by technology evangelists and market researchers as well, the Internet of Things and Services will have large impact on us, society, and systems. In the coming years, more and more intelligent systems will be able to use the internet to communicate automatically with each other. In just 15 years, the resulting Internet of Things and Services will interconnect more than 50 billion components – from tiny sensors to high performance computers.

Many applications in different domains will be coming up like:

  • eHealth: The future of healthcare lies in creating tighter connections between physicians, hospitals, rescue centers and patients by using modern technologies.
  • eMobility: To make electric vehicles widely accepted, it will take a sophisticated charging infrastructure, an intelligent system to orchestrate this new industry with vehicles, charging service providers, and utilities.
  • eProduction: In the efficient industrial production of tomorrow, decisions will be made real-time derived from event-driven supply chains and diagnoses.
  • eEnergy: Energy Management targets to optimize energy demand and consumption in different ways, at utilities, at industrial, at communal or at private consumers.

The evolution of the internet to web 3.0 Source: Bosch.IO
Evolution of the Internet

Besides all the enthusiasm about the new possibilities of the next internet there is some technical homework left before this becomes a reality:

  • Current address space of IPv4 is running out of free numbers (“house numbers” in the internet)
  • Standard Security level of the internet needs an upgrade
  • IP connectivity of devices is not common yet
  • Standard interfaces to talk to devices are still missing

IPv6 in numbers

IPv6 addresses the first two issues. IPv4 has only 232 roughly 4*109 addresses whereas IPv6 has 2128 roughly 3*1038 addresses – both big numbers. Setting a relationship to people or addresses per 1 km² on the planet earth it becomes very clear that we need an extension of the address space for the Internet of Things & Services.

In 1980 the year IPv4 was released to the world there was about 1 IP address per living person on earth. According to the projection of the UN the world population for 2050 will be 9.1 billion people leaving only every second person one IPv4 address. Whereas IPv6 would allow 4.9*1028 for every person today – more than enough to run a computer, smart phone, home entertainment, and multiple Internet of Things devices.

Looking on the distribution of IPv4 addresses on the surface one can easily recognize that only eight IPv4 addresses per square km is not really enough to run infrastructures today. For example one square km in highly populated Singapore with 7,315 people/km also “runs” today 10,990 phone contracts and 1,372 vehicles. IPv6 allows about 6.7*1029 addresses.

Addressing end-to-end connectivity & privacy

Today the world relies on network address translation (NAT) in different flavors to open up local IPv4 address spaces. This strongly violates one of the key success factors and internet architecture principles:  End-to-end connectivity. The end-to-end connectivity has many technical, organizational, and even political implications as it avoids the dependency of single internet participants on a central NAT instance. Many privacy activities argue that NAT allows protecting the identity of internet participants. This is not true as the knowledge who is behind the address is still known by the NAT operator. If one really tries to achieve anonymity in the internet different mechanisms like “The Onion Router” (TOR)“, “Java Anon Proxy (JAP)” or RFC 3041 are required. The huge IPv6 address space even allows completely new mechanisms for privacy like changing dynamic IP addresses which are public-private-key encrypted between the two peers.

*) Robert L. Mitchell (December 28, 2009). “Y2K: The good, the bad and the crazy”.


The IPv6 migration has some similarities to the Millennium or Y2K bug. Most organization have a reactive business attitude to IT best explained with the mantra „if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The Y2K touched every part of the organization worldwide which is also true for IPv6. The Y2K cost about $308 billion worldwide*) and we have to assume the IPv6 transition costs are not that much different. The main difference is though that Y2K had a “day of truth” like 01.01.2000 and no single company wanted to fail. IPv4 address space problem cannot be assigned to one single company or person. This removes the pressure to act.

Bosch and IPv6

Bosch is preparing its devices and networks to run with IPv6. This is because the address space of 128 bit is a pure necessity for the Internet of Things and Services, Sensor networks, and interconnected devices. Additional reasons for IPv6 are mobile IP support, auto configuration techniques, and build in security features of IPSec. For the time until IPv4 is completely replaced by IPv6 Bosch will use special techniques like dual-stacking, tunneling or translation to allow interoperability. Bosch assumes that this will take about 5-10 years. One example is the standard, currently in CD stage, for electromobility “ISO 15118 Road vehicles — Vehicle to grid communication interface” which relies only on IPv6.

I am looking forward to your comments. Get on board!


  • 15. March 2013 at 16:17

    Julian. As of today I have the feeling that car manufactures do not want to expose their ECUs directly to the Internet. There is one Internet gateway in the vehicle. That’s why I belive one public IP address for each car should be sufficient for upcomming years. Hence, there are enough IPv6 addresses left.

  • 11. February 2013 at 20:30

    And, of course, a major beneficiary of new web addresses will be the 30-100 ECUs (Electronic Control Units) in each vehicle that will use an Ethernet-type network in the future. Bosch led with its introduction of CAN (Controller Area Network) and is a major supplier of ECUs and diagnostic products. Certainly, there will be an internal network not visible to the external world, but… this is a great application of the “Internet of Things”.

  • 1. March 2012 at 9:48

    Bosch is part of the emergency call functionallity for passenger vehicles. The call is generated once our airbag ECU detects a crash.

  • 21. February 2012 at 19:01


    Great jobb, lots of usful functionalities.
    I am not sure if you are in the fundation by EU for automatically emergency information to 112 to save life.

    You find me even in Linkedin.

  • 31. January 2012 at 15:44

    there are several good books and tutorials available e.g. IPv6-Essentials by Silvia Hagen

  • 3. January 2012 at 16:59

    Thanks for this post  Stefan ,
    Good Post,Very Informative
    I am also working in Bosch India.
    I am also try to learn IPv6 for Internet of Things.

  • 20. December 2011 at 15:42

    A video post summarizing the 4th German IPv6 Summit in German can be viewed here:

  • 20. December 2011 at 15:36

    Dr. Stefan Ferber presented on this topic at the 4th German IPv6 Summit in Potsdam on Dec, 1st 2011. If you are interested in his presentation, you can download the slides here:

  • 15. December 2011 at 19:48


    Thanks for your hint. How did you motivate the ISP to come on board?

    In Europe this seems more difficult, maybe we can learn from Chile.


  • 15. December 2011 at 14:28

    Hi Markus!
    The IPv6 arrives is inevitable… soon or late, every ISP must adopt IPv6… but, Goverments are motivating to an early adoption… for example, in my country (Chile), we are working with a group of main national ISP for adopt IPv6 soon… You can see our efforts in
    Great article!

  • 12. December 2011 at 9:51

    Thanks for your comment and your support of our opinion. Maybe we have to invent a "day of truth"…

  • 7. December 2011 at 15:35

    Thanks for this post.
    I think we need IPv6 – the post sums up all the arguments.
    Thus, it is necessary to prepare for it. For this reason, I consider the absence of

    a "day of truth" like 01.01.2000

    a disadvantage.
    It will need stronger efforts of companies and organizations to raise awareness for this topic.
    So, a clear statement by Bosch is, in my opinion, helpful. Thanks again!