IPv6 – The Massive IP Address Update
The internet seems to be running out of new addresses but, fortunately for us, the researchers into technology upgrades have been aware of this for some time. The system that has been utilised since 1981 is called IPv4 or Internet Protocol version 4. It has performed well in providing addresses and sending information internationally for this long period of time. However, it is now simply not good enough and is slowly being replaced by the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) that has the capacity to support a huge number of addresses. A For a brief overview, read on below.
IPv6 is not new on the agenda of internet protocols as the Olympic Games in 2008 was an event that showcased the use of IPv6, when all of the network operations utilised at the Games used it. In factChinaand theUSAhave been at the forefront of building this new system whereasBritainhas fallen behind in the race to modernise networking features.
In more technical terms IPv4 allowed 32 bits for an IP address, which has the capacity for over four billion addresses. The IPv6 as an upgrade uses 128-bit addresses. The sky’s the limit as to the number of addresses it will allow. Hand in hand with this capability is the provision allowing many more devices and users to be able to have instant access to the internet. The issuing of addresses will become easier and also the routing of traffic through pathways will increase in efficiency.
A method of reducing the problems of address shortfalls in IPv4 called NAT or network address translation will become obsolete as the new IPv6 system will be able to stand on its own feet for years to come, which includes a far more simplistic way of dealing with the allocation of addresses particularly when there is a changeover of internet connectivity providers.
The final round of stocks of free IPv4 addresses has already been allocated even though a few vacancies will be available for a number of months. Ipv6 cannot be mixed with Ipv4 and only operates in parallel with the older system. However, the most up-to-date computer environments have installed the necessary software that can work with the two systems interchangeably.
To ensure that computer systems are IPv6 ready, software and firmware for the upgrade may have to be installed and this will partly depend on the storage space still available to accept the IPv6 stack. Also, the manufacturers of the computer equipment wil,l as sales promoters, ultimately prefer to market and sell IPv6 ready equipment than spend their time and money developing software and hardware upgrades. In fact the emergence of IPv6 is an opportunity for companies to boost new sales of equipment. Fortunately for most personal computer owners and users the majority of PC’s which are performing with recent operating systems, post Windows 2000, are already set up to receive IPv6 as are commonly used applications. For example, any Java applications which are supported by the February 2002 version Java 1.4 will be adapted for IPv6.
So it is not all doom and gloom, when IPv4 all but disappears, as foresight and research will keep us on line well into the future.