What is IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6)?

The Internet Version 6 is the future network used for transmitting data over a packet-oriented network. It was specified in RFC 2460 and will replace the currently used IPv4. IPv6 is architecturally compatible with IPv4, so it is expected that most of the services build on continue to function without having to make significant adjustments.

In Networks source and destination and all intermediate stations need to have unique IP addresses. The currently used form of IPv4 addresses are 4 bytes (32 bits) wide, and so allow about 232 different addresses. Highly increased demand and need to, make these addresses short in supply.

IPv6 addresses are 16 bytes (128 bits) wide, making some 2128. Hence a sufficient number of addresses for the future becomes available.

Mostly used for IPv4 is the dot notation (a.b.c.d).

This becomes very confusing for IPv6 (a.b.c.d.e.f.g.h.i.j.k.l.m.n.o.p).

Therefore another notation style was invented:

  • The numbers are no longer stated decimally (0-255), but hexadecimal (00-ff).
  • They are written in pairs (0000-ffff), which leads to
  • (ab:cd:ef:gh:ij:kl:mn:op),optionally omitting pure 0-blocks (0000).
  • If in the example ef is 0000 and ij,kl,mn are 0000 the could be written as (ab:cd::gh::::op).

Advantages of IPv6

The main advantage is the greatly expanded address range that offers enough space to continue rising demand.

IPv6 also allows greater packages with a higher payload. This has a positive effect on transport speed and efficiency.

particular interest to administrators is the automatic configuration of IPv6 network devices. As with DHCP assignment of addresses and other configuration data in an automated way possible.

IPv6 includes IPSec, a security layer for IP. Network-level encryption and authentication between servers are therefore integral part of IPv6 and are independent of the servers and their applications.

IPv6 supports by design mobile devices through Mobile IPv6 (MIPv6), which enables mobile devices to switch between networks, irrespective of location.

Operating system support for IPv6 began in 1997. Modern operating systems support IPv6 completely. The changes to IPv6 in the networks and the Internet began in 2004.


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