What is IPv6?

A. IPv6 is the next verions of the Internet Protocol, version 6.0 hence IPv6.

Current computers use IP version 4.0 which despite being created in the mid-1970's has done very well however it has reached its limit and is about to run out of addresses and is not the most bandwidth friendly protocol so its time for an upgrade.

Below are the 4 main reasons that IP version 4.0 needs an upgrade:

  • Address space limitation - Basically there are not many IP addresses left and with everything from watches having IP addresses we need more
  • Performance - IP has a very strict header format which can waste a great deal of bandwidth
  • Security - The next version of IP has excellent security measures which up to now have had to be handled by higher layers
  • Autoconfigure - IP configuration is quite complex and which DHCP moves to improve this the next version allows a computer to just plug into the network and go

Current IP addresses consist of 32 bits, represented as 4 bytes, dotted-quad format, e.g. IP version 6 uses 128 bits for addresses!

IPv6 is defined in the following RFC's (Request for Comments)

  • RFC 1287 - Towards the Future Internet Architecture
  • RFC 1454 - Comparison of Proposals for Next Version of IP
  • RFC 2373 - IPv6 Addressing Architecture
  • RFC 2374 - IPv6 Global Unicast Address Format
  • RFC 2460 - IPv6 Specification

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