What is IPv6?The Basics
- by Susith Nonis
- in Networking
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What is IPv6?
Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP). IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as a precaution to the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses. Ipv4 was developed in the late 70s and it was the first non-experimental version in the internet. Total amount of addresses allocated by IPv4 is 232 which is about 4 billion unique addresses. IPv6 theoretically allows 2128 addresses (3.4*1038) but actual number is smaller as multiple ranges are reserved for special use or completely excluded from use.
IPv6 replaces IPv4 32 bit address with a 128 bit address which result in a very large amount of addresses. IPv6 addresses are represented as eight groups which comprises of four hexadecimal digits while groups being separated by colons.
Example for IPv4 address are represented by two decimal digits in four groups which are separated by full stops.
The main reasons behind IPv4 being along so far is due to reusing the same IP addresses and due to NAT. what’s NAT? Network address translation (NAT) converts the private IPs to the public IPs which are unique. All the overlapping private IPs are behind unique public IPs.
Why only consider using IPv6 only now?
Simple, because of compatibility. Getting from IPv6 only system to an IPv4 system will not work as there is no backward compatibility built into it. But older hardware can be upgraded with new firmware. The problem is moving to purely IPv6 equipment or dual stack gear which can work on both protocols by the ISPs is super expensive back in the day but now this is being implemented.
Some of the main IPv6 features are as follows:
- Support addresses that are 128 bits long.
- Integrated with IPsec (internet Protocol Security) which authenticates and encrypts the data sent.
- Allows the host to send fragment packets instead of the router.
- Does not require a DHCP (Domain Host Control Protocol) or manual configurations.
- Uses the host’s address resource codes from the DNS to map the IPv6 addresses.
- Stateless Auto-reconfiguration of Hosts allows IPv6 hosts to automatically configure when connected to a routed IPv6 network.
- More efficient routing
- Ipv6 supports auto-configuration which corrects most of the flaws from IPv4 while integrated with the security features.