IPv6: Purveyor of Cat Food


Today is the 4th anniversary of the World IPv6 Day, which most of us remember as a test drive that facilitated the “launching” of IPv6 a year later.   Two fortunate felines in the UK may remember it as the day it rained cat food — the day they were fed 168 times.

The full details are available from Mathew Newton’s website — http://www.newtonnet.co.uk/catfeeder/ . The real purpose of his project was to create an Internet-accessible remote cat feeder for those times the cats had to be left alone for a stretch. Connecting over the web, from a remote desktop or his phone, Mathew can use the Internet to connect to the feeder and feed his cats from wherever he is, if he can’t be home to feed them in person. (Purr-son?). To provide some concrete feedback in the process, Mathew included video camera support so that he can remote monitor the feeding station and ensure that things work properly.

As if that wasn’t enough, Mathew decided to participate in World IPv6 Day, with the unintended consequences of the 166 extra feedings of the cats (to their delight, no doubt). Mathew writes on his site:

What was my contribution to this unique event? Well, in addition to taking part in a user trial of native IPv6 connectivity provided by my ISP (Plusnet) I also opened up control of my cat feeder – the world’s first to support IPv6 – to anyone that cared to give my cats a treat. Anyone, that is, that had IPv6 connectivity of course… 😉

Why? Good question… I could say it was to help demonstrate in a practical way how more and more devices are being hooked up to the Internet in such numbers that the dwindling pool of IPv4 addresses simply cannot hope to accomodate them, or that how such devices can be connected with relative ease given the lack of NAT configuration, port forwarding, etc. However, truth be told, it was mainly just a bit of fun…

So, how did it go? Well, very well in fact. Our cats thought Christmas had come early so it was a real success in their eyes, and they still don’t know what IPv6 is! But that’s the point – IPv6 is an enabler, something that operates behind the scenes, and shouldn’t be the concern of the typical end user (admittedly cats probably don’t fit that profile… yet).

Mathew recently wrote more about the experience in a guest posting to ARIN’s blog: http://teamarin.net/2015/05/27/turning-bits-into-bites/ .

Indeed, IPv6 — more bits, more addresses, more kibble!

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