So, for the “fun” of it, I added some dns names to my home network (namely the cablemodem and the router). Now, it’s not like I really NEEDED to do so. The honest truth is IPv4 network addresses are rather simple to remember. So, I could just type in the IPv4 address of the device I want to reference and do fine.
So why bother?
Well, a former colleague of mine convinced me that it was time to change. You see, IPv6 is coming. I won’t bore anyone with the details, but let’s just say that I’m not about to try to remember the IPv6 addresses of any of my devices. At first, the Luddite in me rebelled at the idea that I could no longer just refer to devices by IP address. I attempted a few feeble attempts at arguments (hey, it’s easy to remember the IP address of some public DNS servers for example, and that’s one of the few times in an IPv4 network it really helps to have memorized some IP addresses.)
But the truth is, over time, I saw his point. IPv4 was the old way. IPv6, for a variety of reasons is the future. My desire to be able to say I could remember the IPv4 address of my router was simply stubbornness. The truth is, there really isn’t any real benefit to it. The fact that I could (and did) reference my network printers by IP address wasn’t really helpful. In fact, it meant that when I wanted to move it to a different address, I had to go to individual machines and make changes. Now, I had a small network, and only changed the printer address once in the past 5 years. So it wasn’t a huge burden.
But now that I’ve moved to using hostnames, even for stuff I used to use IP addresses for, my limited memory can be used for more useful things. And when I do reconfigure my network (say add another printer, or expand it in other ways) a simple DNS change and I’m all done. I don’t have to go from machine to machine to make changes.
So, the moral of the story is, just because IPv4 made something EASY to do, it didn’t make it the right thing to do. IPv6 forced me to reconsider my thinking and in the end change for the better.
Sometimes, being forced to change can make you a better person.