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What is IPv6?

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What is IPv6? IPv6 is the newest generation of Internet Protocols. IPv6 uses a 128-bit IP address to support demand for global IP addresses as it grows. Internet Protocol, also known as IP, is the set of rules internet-based devices follow for communication. IPv6 is the successor of the widely used IPv4, which has been showing signs of needing retirement since 2011.

The extensive list of devices using IPv4 has exhausted that version of Internet Protocol, and now IPv6 is needed to take over. The key difference, or upgrade, in IPv6 is the use of a 128-bit IP address.

By using IPv6, users will be afforded a long list of advantages and benefits. Here are key benefits:

  • Auto-configuration
  • Built-in authentication and privacy support
  • Administration simplified with no more DHCP
  • Elimination of private address collisions
  • NAT (Network Address Translation) is no longer needed
  • Simple header formats
  • More efficient routing
  • QoS or “flow labeling”
  • Improved multi-cast routing
  • Flexible options and extensions

IPv6 utilizes 128-bit Internet addresses vs the 32-bit of IPv4. Therefore, it can support 2^128 Internet addresses compared to the meager 4.3~ billion of IPv4. IPv6 is becoming more common in cloud computing providers and consumer access networks.

As IPv6 becomes more prevalent in software engineering environments and with the general public, it would be best to learn how it differs from its predecessor and the advanced features it contains.

IPv6 is an enhancement of IPv4, designed to provide an unprecedented number of IP addresses so the world will not have to adapt to another Internet Protocol anytime soon.