What is IPV6?

Posted at August 1, 2015 at 3:54 pm by admin

When the Internet was defined, original creators used 32-bit (IPv4) addresses for each host in the cloud. The addresses allowed about 4.3 billion unique addresses. These addresses were the foundation of the TCP/IP protocol and communication over the Internet. Each address had to be unique for communication to succeed, but decades later the Internet has depleted its IP address pool. Recognizing the issue, engineers have introduced the new IPv6 address pool.

How Computers Communicate on the Internet

Before discussing the specifics of IPv6, it’s important to understand how computers communicate over the Internet. Each computer is given a 32-bit address that’s unique from any other computer on the Internet. This includes web servers, routers, switches and any cloud resources accessible over the Internet.

When a computer sends a message to another computer, the data is packaged along with the sender’s IP address and the recipient’s IP address. The addresses are used by routers and switches to direct traffic to the right recipient.

Numerous new Internet resources have been added to the cloud in the last decade. The result is that 32-bit IP addresses are recycled and reused. With more web servers, hosts and routers added to the cloud, these IP addresses are no longer available. To compensate for a lack of available IP addresses, engineers introduced IPv6.

Adding Available IP Addresses Using IPv6

IPv4 used 4 different numbers between 0 and 255 to define addresses. With IPv6, IP addresses are expanded to 128 bits, and they introduced hexadecimal values.

The following is an example of an IPv4 address:

The new IPv6 addresses look like the following:


IPv6 extends available addresses to hundreds of trillions of available Internet addresses.

You probably don’t even realize that many of your devices already use the newer form of IP addresses. Most mobile devices and wireless networks use IPv6 to connect to the Internet. In some environments, system administrators mix IPv6 with IPv4. Your device can be given both addresses to enable communication with older resources.

Implementing IPv6 is more difficult than it seems. Older operating systems don’t support IPv6 such as Windows 2008, Vista and XP. Even though these operating systems are years behind current technology, plenty of users still don’t want to migrate to newer operating systems. This creates a hurdle for network administrators. It’s too costly to retire old servers on large enterprise networks. Moving to a new operating system also requires extreme testing and quality assurance to avoid costly internal network bugs.

Internal networking systems don’t have enough computers to force conversion to IPv6. The IP address assigned to your internal home or network computer isn’t exposed to the Internet. These IP addresses are considered “non-routable.” For instance, go to “WhatIsMyIP.com” and notice that the IP address listed is not the same as what’s assigned to your computer. The IP address shown is your firewall or external router public-facing IP. Internal networks use routers to control traffic on the Internet, so your IP address isn’t exposed to the public. This is a way to segment the network and protect individual computers from cyber threats.

If you’re an end-user, you don’t need to worry about IPv6, but you might notice a change in IP address format. When a support technician asks you for your computer’s IP address, it might be a version 6 format instead of version 4.

InterServer has IPv6 available on all our services including web hosting, VPS and dedicated servers.

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