IPv6: The Future of the Internet
Beginning August 1, NetFire will be supporting IPv6 – the newest version of Internet Protocol (IP), the system that identifies and locates computers on the web. This article covers important questions you might have about this development – why it’s happening, how things will change, and how to prepare.
Why is this happening?
Every computer online can be identified and located by its specific IP address – IPv4 was adopted in 1981 for that purpose. After the technology boom in the 1990s, though, experts quickly realized that IPv4’s address space would soon be unable to accommodate the growing number of devices. That’s why the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) developed IPv6 – to ensure that our IP system keeps up with the modern market.
IPv4 vs. IPv6: How does it compare?
The most important feature of IPv6 is the very reason for its development – a vastly larger address space. IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, allowing for roughly 4.3 billion addresses. Compare that to IPv6’s 128-bit address system, providing about 3.4 × 1038 addresses. That’s over 7.9 × 1028 more than IPv4.
IPv6 also has other technical advantages beyond an expanded address space, though. It also offers simplified multicasting, stateless address auto-configuration, and a new packet format for minimal packet header processing.
How do I prepare?
IPv4 and IPv6 aren’t directly interoperable, hence the need for transition mechanisms that permit hosts on one network type to interact with the other. Some of these transition technologies are described in RFC 4213.
Here is one simple test designed to gauge your IPv6 readiness. To find out more, feel free to contact our staff.