The Coming of IPv6
“Advances in Internet have changed the way we work, learn, and communicate” – Bill Clinton.
Internet Protocol version 4 or popularly called IPv4 will be passé sooner or later with the world running out of unique IP addresses. So all eyes are set on the next generation internet – Internet Protocol version 6 or what we known as IPv6. In fact, for a number of businesses, IPv6 is turning out to become a preferred choice.
IPv6 is the probable successor to IPv4, as it is said to possess the capacity to produce trillions of unique IP addresses as against the current IP standard that caters to only 4 billion IP addresses. It is a network layer protocol that allows data communications through packet switching. This means, you can send and receive data in packets between two nodes in a single network.
This protocol was first published in 1998 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The idea was to replace the then (and even now) widely used IPv4. Although its adoption has been relatively slow in the last decade, you can see a lot more actions in the years to come.
The primary objective of designing and developing IPv6 is to generate unlimited number of unique IP addresses of the world. The 128-bit address space in IPv6 as against the current internet standard IPv4 that uses only 32-bit address space is intended to support the ongoing internet expansion in the future. This means that businesses can expect IPv6 to offer unlimited unique addresses that was not envisioned by the makers of IPv4, who believed that the limited space was enough to cater to unique IP addresses.
Owing to inefficiency in the distribution methods of IPv4 address, many organizations were allotted more address spaces than their desired amount. This is a highly impractical and unjust system of IP address distribution. With the manifold growth of internet-related activities, the objective of IPv6 is to ensure a much higher throughput that supports bigger payload than IPv4. Moreover, to cater to the modern complex network, IPv6, with its auto configuration capabilities can make IP system efficient – something that cannot be achieved by traditional addressing methods.
You can also expect more secured network with IPv6, as the technology is built with more advanced security features than the existing protocol. Therefore, it is less vulnerable to security attacks and malicious activities. You can also expect a higher throughput from IPv6 packets that support bigger payload than IPv4 packets.
Although the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 means you can prevent yourself from IP address crunch, there are a number of considerations for companies. Firstly, the makeover costs a lot of money for companies and not everyone can afford it. There is also a lack of knowledge on the IP mechanism as a result of which many have not realized the consequences. Although a number of companies are implementing IPv6 or are geared up to deploy this next generation of IP, for the transition to be successful, it has to be planned and phased out in an organized manner.