IPv6 is the successor protocol for IPv4. With the exhaustion of IPv4 and the ever exploding number of devices hooking on to the internet, adaption of IPv6 has become a compulsion rather than an experiment. The massive proliferation of devices, need for newer and more demanding applications on a global level and the increasing role of networks in the way business is conducted are some of the pressing issues the IPv6 protocol seeks to cater to.
IPv6 provides unlimited address space, end- to- end IP communication, improved QoS & security, IP host mobility, auto configuration and supports jumbograms.
It comes with built-in security, IPSec .
It is loaded with features like efficient forwarding, interoperability and mobility capabilities, extensibility.
This new protocol also enables neighboring node interaction.
The scalability and flexibility of IPv6 triggers scope for innovation and assisting collaboration.
IPV6 brings quality of service that is required for several new applications such as IP telephony, video/audio, interactive games or ecommerce. Whereas IPv4 is a best effort service, IPv6 ensures QoS, a set of service requirements to deliver performance guarantee while transporting traffic over the network. For networking traffic, the quality refers to data loss, latency (jitter) or bandwidth. In order to implement QoS marking, IPv6 provides a traffic-class field (8 bits) in the IPv6 header. It also has a 20-bit flow label.
IPv6 upgrade comes with multicasting, which is standard in this version but only optional in IPv4. Multicasting is delivering a data stream to multiple destinations at the same time, with no duplication unless called for.
IPv6 can be considered a mobile technology. IPv6 includes support for users who ‘roam’ between different networks, with global notification when you leave one network and enter another one.
Since IPv6 does not support NAT, the unique IP address of the device helps in easily identifying and auditing from a security agency point of view.
Interestingly, IPv6 is a moving target, your cheat sheet would be wrong. Hence, Implementing IPv6 should not happen without carefully considering the security impact of the new protocol.
There are an estimated 1.73 billion Internet users worldwide! According to mathematicians IPv6 is capable of delivering 340,300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, that’s over three hundred and forty duodecillion IPs. IPv6 is 128-bit based which can generate enough IP addresses that can power generations of regular internet users and the technology enthusiasts around the globe.
Even, the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), which is responsible for the standardization of the third-generation mobile networks, has designated the session initiation protocol (SIP) as the call control protocol and Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) as the only network protocol for 3G IP-based wireless networks.
IPv4 Vs IPv6
IPv4 users have apprehensions!!! I’d say don’t get into a panic; as you won’t have a thing to worry about.
For as long as there has been an Internet IPv4 has been synonymous with IP and nobody really stopped to think about which version of the protocol it was. But IPv4 has outlived its usefulness.
Why a New IP?
0 IP March 1977 version (deprecated)
1 IP January 1978 version (deprecated)
2 IP February 1978 version A (deprecated)
3 IP February 1978 version B (deprecated)
4 IPv4 September 1981 version (current widespread)
To get you up to speed, IPv4 is 27 year old, 32-bit IP with 4.3 billion addresses, which looked like so many in the 1970s, but is not even close enough to today’s Internet needs.
Those mobile devices that we love so much like Android phones, iPads, etc have been sucking down IPv4 addresses like a gas guzzling car from the time of cheap gasoline.
With PCs, Smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, and just about everything else connecting to the Internet we’ve tapped the system dry.
IPv4 protocol was designed initially keeping campus network in mind. Another point to be focused here would be that not every IP address in the IPv4 pool can be assigned to the machines and devices used to access the Internet. Also, some IP addresses were reserved for other uses, such as for use in private networks. This means that the total number of IP addresses available for allocation is less than the total number in the IPv4 pool.
Clearly the internet needs more IP addresses as well as a more robust and secure protocol.
From a long time, we tried to manage to avoid running out of IPv4 addresses with the use of technologies like Network Address Translation (NAT) and Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR), but unfortunately could not stop the outdo and the destiny of IPv4.
Researchers saw the writing on the wall, and predicted based on the rate of growth for Internet use and IP-connected devices that IPv4 wouldn’t last forever. Hence, it becomes necessary to understand that there is a fine line between hope and forecasts, and hence we need to migrate to IPv6, sooner or later. Therefore the broadband revolution is sure to ride on next generation Internet Protocol (IPv6) – the backbone of Internet. Even Vint Cerf, one of the Internet’s fathers, wants us to use IPv6!!!
In practicality, IPv6 is expected to create over 18 trillion IP addresses. Worried? Don’t be. With 18 trillion IP’s, every living person on this planet can be assigned over 3000 dedicated IP’s each. IPv6 could provide each and every square micrometer of the earth’s surface with 5,000 unique addresses. IPv6 is a 128-bit addressing scheme designed to solve the various problems with 32-bit IPv4, or AKA the next ‘big thing’. With 128 bit addressing, this means you will practically never run out of addresses in your allocated subnet. Want to give your coffee maker its own global address? Do it man, live the dream!