IPv6 – The future of Internet IP addressing…

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An IP (Internet Protocol) address is basically a postal address for each and every Internet-connected device. Without one, websites would not know where to send information/data each time you perform a search or try to access a website. IPv4 offers only about 4.3 billion IP addresses (specifically 4,294,967,296); which you most likely are familiar with already ( x.x.x.x; (1-255).(1-255).(1-255).(1-255) ). Through the use of techniques such as Network Address Translation (NAT) the life of IPv4 was extended, because NAT allows multiple devices to connected to the Internet through a single IP address, with the router in that particular household or business keeping track of which local device are receiving & sending data packets. But without IPv6,the Internet’s expansion and innovation could be limited, and the underlying infrastructure theoretically could become increasingly complex to manage; so a more expansive, address protocol has been deemed necessary.

IPv6, the latest – and possibly could be the ultimate addressing protocol, holds 2128 or 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IP (340 billion billion billion billion) addresses. That is enough to give at least 4.3 billion IP addresses, or the addressing space of the current internet, individually to every person on Earth; or 7 billion current Internets!

Why the IPv6 protocol architects decided on such an unnecessary huge address space is unknown; Surely, 264 or 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 (18.4 trillion million) would have been way too many already. It seems like a bad call on the planner’s part, simply too excessive, when instead each packet could contain 64 bits of extra data. However, if we want to ever give an IP address to every mappable cubic centimeter of Earth’s entire atmosphere, IPv6 will provide future generations that capability, and more.

Companies that use and distribute IP addresses will need to adapt their networks and systems to use IPv6. Our servers, networks, switches, at 4GoodHosting have been already made IPv6 compliant.
Just one IPv6 deployment highlight to draw your attention to this month, but it’s a big one:

Canada’s Telus are just a few months into their IPv6 rollout, but it is clear from the chat above that they have been busy at upgrading their network with ipV6.


Additional IPv6 benefits

* Backward Compatibility:

It is not impossible to switch the Internet from IPv4 to IPv6 all at one time. So, it is crucial that both protocols are able to coexist across Internet and on local Intranets and local networks. This is made possible by compatible addresses (IPv4 addresses can easily be translated into IPv6 addresses) and through the use of what are called “tunnels”. Systems can also implement a dual stack IP technique to support both protocols at the same time. This means that ISPs and service providers have two network stacks that are completely separate; so that there is no interference between the two protocol versions. This is how we at 4GoodHosting have already structured our servers, switches, routers, and firewalls.

* Auto-configuration:

IPv6 makes the network “plug & play” capable, which means that a newly set up system configures and activates into the local network with little or without any manual configuration. The new host uses its auto-config mechanism to derive its own address from the information made available by neighboring routers, utilizing a protocol named the neighbor discovery (ND) protocol. No intervention on the administrator’s part nor or automatic address allocation requiring a separate DHCP server.

* Simplified, more efficient routing and simpler header format, easier administration
* No more private address collisions
* No more need to implement and configure NAT (Network Address Translation)
* Better multicast routing

With IPv4, some services, such as SMB (Server_Message_Block), need to broadcast their packets to all hosts on a local network. IPv6 allows a fine-grained approach by enabling servers to address hosts through multicasting, by addressing various hosts as parts of a group. This is different from addressing all hosts through broadcasting or each host individually through unicasting. There are predefined groups to address all name servers, an “all name servers” multicast group or all routers,an “all routers” multicast group.

* Secure Communication:

IPv6 includes IPsec as one of its integrated features, allowing systems to communicate over a secure tunnel; to block out digital eavesdroppers. For IPv4, network security is an add-on function.

* True quality of service (QoS), also called “flow labeling”
* Built-in authentication and privacy support
* Flexible options and extensions

* Mobility:

With IPv6, it is possible to assign several addresses to one network interface (NIC) simultaneously. This method allows users to easily access several. This is similar with international “roaming” services offered by mobile service providers. (Roaming occurs when you take your mobile phone across the country or internationally, the phone automatically logs in to a foreign service as soon as it enters the new region (and logs your location of course too) so you can be reached (and spied upon) under the same phone # everywhere, and also are able to place an outgoing call just like in your home area. Convenience, but with a price, lack of privacy.

IPv6 has massive address abundance 4.29 x 109 = 4.3 billion addresses – far less than even a single IP address per person on the planet. 3.4 x 1038 = 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses – about 670 quadrillion addresses per square millimetre of the Earth’s surface.

IPv6 networks are easier and cheaper to manage Networks must be configured manually or with DHCP. IPv4 has had many overlays to handle Internet growth, which demand increasing maintenance efforts. IPv6 networks provide auto-configuration capabilities. They are simpler, flatter and more manageable, especially for large installations.

IPv6 restores end-to-end transparency Widespread use of NAT devices means that a single NAT address can mask thousands of non-routable addresses, making end-to-end integrity unachievable. Direct addressing is possible due to vast address space – the need for network address translation devices is effectively eliminated.

IPv6 has improved security features Security is dependent on applications – IPv4 was not designed with security in mind. IPSEC is built into the IPv6 protocol, usable with a suitable key infrastructure.

IPv6 has improved mobility capabilities Relatively constrained network topologies restrict mobility and interoperability capabilities in the IPv4 Internet. IPv6 provides interoperability and mobility capabilities which are already widely embedded in network devices.

IPv6 encourages innovation IPv4 was designed as a transport and communications medium, and increasingly any work on IPv4 is to find ways around the constraints. Given the numbers of addresses, scalability and flexibility of IPv6, its potential for triggering innovation and assisting collaboration is unbounded.


The above chart in the graphic at the start of this article shows Google’s analysis of the current levels of IPv6 implementation.

Industry and Internet experts agree that IPv6-based networks will be superior to strictly IPv4-based networks. The simplified and redesigned header structure in IPv6 and the enhanced capabilities of the new protocol could provide significant benefits to Internet users, network administrators, and applications developers. The phantasmal increased address space available under IPv6 will help development & deployment of new communications devices and new applications. IPv6 will simplify the configuration, activation, and general operability of most networks and services; network restructuring will occur more easily. How do we know this already? 4GoodHosting’s network infrastructure is already completely IPv6 compliant.

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