Engineer internet

Bit Nibble Byte Chomp – a call to action

As we count the minutes down to the Move Over IPv4 Bring on IPv6 party tonight it seems appropriate to talk about nibbles.

We will all be familiar with bits (0/1) and bytes (8 bits). You may even know that 4 bits is a nibble or a single Hexadecimal digit which makes a byte two Hexadecimal digits. IPv4 is a 32 bit addressing system with four time three lots of decimal characters.

Where is all this going do I hear you ask? This basic first year engineering degree primer!

Well tonight’s event is about IPv6, a 128 bit addressing system which has four blocks of four Hexadecimal characters. It looks like this 2001:1A20:1006:1001::/64.

Seeing as IPv6 is going to become commonplace there is now an ongoing discussion to come up with a name for those 16bit, 2 Byte, 4 x Hex character blocks. The currently proposed batch of names are presented below for your delectation.

Chazwazza, Chunk, Column, Colonade, Colonnade, Doctet, Field, Hexadectet, Hit, Orone, Part, Provider number, customer number, network number, Quad nibble, qibble, quibble, Segment, Tuple, Word.

These are all worthy proposals in an Internet Draft (click on the link to see the contributors names) which expires/due for next edit on 6th April. None of them stick with me though I do like Chazwazza because it is a cool name not because I think it works in this instance.

The Timico engineering team has started to use the word “chomp” to represent two bytes or the 4 Hex character block in IPv6.

Chomp is clearly in the mould of bit, nibble and byte and I would be grateful if you could chew this one over with a view to supporting the idea – we are submitting it as a suggestion when the above Draft expires.

That’s it. Time for a spot of lunch 🙂

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

8 replies on “Bit Nibble Byte Chomp – a call to action”

“128 bit addressing system which has four blocks of four Hexadecimal characters. It looks like this 2001:1A20:1006:1001::/64”

Um, no. An IPv6 address is _8_ 16bit chunks (that’s the word I have always used, anyway 🙂 ) – that is how you get to 128bits total. 2001:1A20:1006:1001::/64 is an example of a prefix you would assign to a link (the ::, loosely, means as many all zero chunks as it take to complete the 128bit address … (in this case, 4 all-zero chunks)).

As for the name – chomp is thematically consistent, and pretty close to chunk … 🙂


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