PC Speak: An Abney and Associates Internet and Technology Research Lab Presents the IPv6
Internet Protocol version 6 is the most recent update of the IP, the main communications protocol that holds the whole Internet. It is created to supplant the older Internet Protocol version 4 that is still in use on most of the web traffic until today. IPv6 was formed by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) as a solution for the IPv4′s imminent address shortage.
For every device that connects to the Internet, it needs an IP address — a binary number assigned to it to enable communication with other devices. And with the quick turnout of Internet-capable devices today, the current IPv4 protocol is running out of addresses that we could use.
An IPv6 address is composed of 8 sets of 4 hex digits, separated by colons like the following:
Because IPv6 uses a 128-bit address, as opposed to IPv4′s 32-bit, the former can have roughly 4.8 x 1028 addresses for every person alive — and it would be a fraud to have this quantity run out any time soon. The problem is, because of the incompatibility of the 2 protocols, transition from IPv4 to IPv6 can be difficult.
World IPv6 Launch was done on June 6, 2012 where main ISPs supported the use of IPv6 addresses to some of their users. But even as the campaign for widespread adaptation of IPv6 is taking off, its usage has only reached a peak of 0.2% traffic which was during the launch.
IPv4 is the first version of the IP for public use. An IPv4 address is shown as 4 numbers, each of which range from 0-255 (with 8 bits every number, its total comes to 32 bits). Therefore, IPv4 is capable of over 4 billion addresses. Exhausting the addresses has not been a concern at first because it was only meant to be a test in the ARPANET and not for public use.
In 2008, the DNS has been configured for the use of IPv6 and since then, it has been deployed on main commercial OS. Its first use was demonstrated on the Summer Olympic Games of the same year, the largest usage since its inception.
Numerous transition processes need to be employed to enable hosts that only supports IPv6 to be reachable from IPv4 ones or to make IPv6-only networks and hosts communicate in an infrastructure that only supports IPv4. However, those measures must be done temporarily as IPv6 gradually replace IPv4. One such transition method is to use tunneling to enclose IPv6 traffic in IPv4 infrastructure, but this is only applicable as a short-term solution due its high latency.
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