IPv6 Overview, Advantages and Definitions 

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IPv6 is the replacement internet protocol (IP) for IPv4. IPv6 is being phased in rapidly, as the support for IPv4 in new devices is waning.

IPv6 corrects many of the flaws and inefficiencies of IPv4, and allows for simplified addressing. IPv4 was a capable system, but it did not take into account the rapid expansion of global networks. Because of this difficiency, IPv6 was born. Packetworks specializes in networking solutions and technologies, including IPv6 networks. Click here to contact us today. This article will discuss the basics of IPv6 so the general public will gain a better understanding.


Why is IPv6 Needed?

IPv4 is built upon a 32-bit standard that supports a maximum of 4.3 billion unique IP addresses. This number seemed massive at IPv4’s inception, but the full scope of the internet was not fully understood at that time. IPv6 uses an 128-bit standard, which has support for 3.4x10^38 addresses. This increase in potential IP addresses will allow for a many orders of magnitude increase in potential size from IPv4. The potential size of IPv6 addresses is large enough to eliminate the need for NAT (Network Address Translation) technology, which was had its own set of complicating factors.

A few corporations and countries are updating their networks to the new IPv6 standard. Emerging nations and networks will have no choice but to adopt the new IPv6 standard, as IPv4 addresses are no longer available.

Advantages of IPv6

The primary advantage of IPv6 is the virtually infinite number of addresses that are available. This addressing space will allow for global networks to function with less error and become more scalable in the future with growing technologies and userbases. Other advantages include:

  • Simplified header format for more efficient handling of packages

  • Larger data payload for increased network throughput and efficiency

  • Hierarchy based network architecture the will allow for more efficient routing

  • Improved Autoconfiguration support

  • Improved plug-and-play (PnP) support

  • Simplified networking via the elimination of need for NAT and ALG (application layered gateway) technologies

  • Higher number of multicast addresses

Transition from IPv4 to IPv6

The full transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will likely take decades before it is complete due to the sheer size and scope of the change. Corporations, nations, and new networks are undergoing a hybrid period where both network types are used side-by-side in order to streamline the transition and ensure full network capability.

A dual stack network is one that allows v4 and v6 to exist side-by-side on the same platform, and is able to provide hosting for both network types. Dual stack networks are the most common way to transition to IPv6. For more information on transitioning a network to IPv6, contact Packetworks today.


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