IPv6 explained

What does IPv6 mean?

IPv6 is the latest version of Internet protocol (IP). These protocols are sets of rules for the devices. They are needed to achieve sending and receiving information. The exchange of data happens between a host and a recipient, which is another host. To succeed in the communication, these hosts have to be identified. Their location can be tracked with the help of their corresponding IP addresses. So, the route is established, and the exchange of data can be performed.

An interesting fact is that IPv6 is around for more than twenty years. The introduction was in 1995. The tremendous growth of devices wanting to connect to the Internet showed that IPv4 wouldn’t be able to fulfill such needs. Thus the IPv6 was created and ready to be implemented. However, people were not ready to stop using IPv4. It is a transformation that requires a long period of time to complete.

If you try to count the number of computers, smartphones, tablets, and Internet of things (IoT) that want to connect to the web, they request a unique and individual IP address every day. So, you could assume how significant is the role of IP addresses and also their daily supply.

How does the IPv6 address look like?

IPv6 addresses contain eight sequences of four hexadecimal digits. They are all separated by colons. Also, each sequence signifies 16 bits.

Here is an example with Google’s IPv6 address: 2607:f8b0:4004:0807:0000:0000:0000:200e

Why apply it?

  • You need IP addresses for domain name resolution if you have a website or a network. Perhaps you have an A DNS record, and you use IPv4 for now. Although sooner, it will accrue the need to migrate to AAAA record and IPv6.
  • Connecting several devices and IoT is much more easily. Usually, to accomplish this, you need a lot of IP addresses. To solve this, you have to use network address translation (NAT). It helps map several local private addresses to a public IP as a prior action to transfer the data. If you apply IPv6, you skip this step.
  • Suppose you want to set up network routing at your business or at home. You have to know that there is a chance that older devices may not support the new IPv6.
  • If you want to make several services available on the Internet. For example, application hosting, web hosting, etc.
  • IPv6 is 5G, and its structure is compatible with the future Internet. 

IPv4 vs. IPv6

  • Thanks to the 128-bit addresses, the new IPv6 can provide more than enough available IP addresses. 
  • Another great innovation is IPSec. It is a method of authentication, which encrypts the connection. Also, it validates the sender of the packets. So this allows the receiver to be able to check the data’s origin.
  • SLAAC – stateless address auto-configuration. When you are using IPv6 in a network, you can apply the SLAAC. It will provide a new host’s auto-configuration, and a DHCP server won’t be needed. However, DHCP can still be involved with IPv6 addresses also.
  • There is no more problem with the packets’ fragmentation. The previous IPv4 address experienced it and led to numerous difficulties.

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