You might have run into this term: IPv6 and shrugged it off like (eh or oooh here is another Web 2.0 something or other) and went on your merry way. In reality this is HUGE (no-pun-intended). The Internet is quietly undergoing an upgrade.  IPv4, which uses 32-bit technology and allows for only approximately 4.3 billion addresses, bottom line,  the IPv4 is running out of addresses. The IPv6 will allow for 340 trillion trillion trillion (or, 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). WHOA!

There will be definitely plenty of elbow room for all the new devices coming on line, but we will also have many more devices entering the web that we never thought of.  Sure there are computers, thermostats, TVs and phones, but how about watches, fridges, cars, blinds, shutters and much more.

Just Imagine: Everything in your house (and everyone else’s house) can be connected to the Internet. Your appliances, your doors, windows, cameras, mirrors, bathroom scale, everything. Your plants will be able to tweet you when they need water and your fridge will be able to call your cell when you spouse uses the last egg.

Advantages of Using IPv6 over IPv4

The following advantages are immediately obvious in the new scheme of things:

  • Larger address space
  • Support for mobile devices
  • Simplified address auto-configuration
  • Improved address management
  • Built-in security with end-to-end IP Sec
  • Enables more levels of hierarchy for route aggregation (Route aggregation on the Internet is similar to the ZIP code system used by the postal department. For e.g., mail addressed with ZIP codes 9xxxx are directed to the West coast. Regional and local post offices on the West coast then sort the mail by looking further into the ZIP code. For example, 98xxx letters are sent to Washington while 97xxx letters are sent to Oregon.)
  • Makes it possible to upgrade functionality as needed, e.g., multicasting, QoS and mobility features. Quality of Service (QoS) is a technology that helps ease the congestion in packet-switched networks. QoS provides for network traffic to be divided into different classes during times of congestion, and helps in prioritizing information transfer.
  • On the IPv6 platform, billions of new devices such as cell phones, PDA’s, appliances and even cars can be IPv6 enabled;
  • The Internet can extend its reach to billions of new users in densely populated regions of the world;
  • The protocol makes it possible for “always on” access technologies like xDSL, Cable or Ethernet connectivity.

So what do you need to do? Make sure that your internet provider has IPv6 connectivity.  If not, this may restrict your ability to reach IPv6-only sites in the future.