IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) Description

IPv6 is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), which is the set of rules governing the format of data sent over the internet or local networks. It was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to deal with the long-anticipated issue of IPv4 address exhaustion. IPv6 is intended to replace IPv4.

Unlike IPv4, which uses a 32-bit address system, IPv6 uses a 128-bit address system, allowing for a significantly larger number of unique addresses. An IPv6 address is represented as eight groups of four hexadecimal digits, each group separated by a colon, for example, 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.

Basic Use of IPv6

  1. Expanded Addressing Capabilities: The primary use of IPv6 is to provide a vastly larger pool of IP addresses, necessary for the growing number of internet-connected devices.
  2. Improved Internet Routing Efficiency: IPv6 allows for more efficient routing of internet traffic. It simplifies the router’s task in network address translation, making the overall process more efficient.
  3. Enhanced Security Features: IPv6 was designed with internet security in mind. It includes IPsec (a suite of protocols for securing internet protocol communications) as a fundamental feature, not just an option as in IPv4.
  4. Support for New Services: IPv6 supports new and improved services. For example, it enables multicast addressing (sending a packet to multiple destinations in a single send operation) and simplified packet headers for more efficient processing.
  5. Direct Addressing of Nodes: With IPv6, each device can theoretically have its own public IP address, thereby eliminating the need for network address translation (NAT) and simplifying peer-to-peer (P2P) networking and other applications.
  6. Mobile IP and IoT Devices: IPv6’s large address space is suitable for the proliferation of mobile devices and the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), where every device, from home appliances to industrial equipment, can have a unique IP address.

Transition from IPv4 to IPv6

The transition to IPv6 is ongoing and involves running both IPv4 and IPv6 in parallel (dual stacking) and other transition technologies. Despite its advantages, the adoption of IPv6 has been gradual, due to the massive scale of replacing or updating existing networks and devices that currently rely on IPv4. However, with the increasing number of internet-connected devices, the transition to IPv6 is becoming increasingly important for the future scalability of the internet.


The future (they have been saying this for over 20 years)