Internet Protocol (IP) is an addressing system used to identify different devices on a network. Data packets are sent from a host to a destination based on IP addresses. IP is the primary foundation for how we share information on the Internet.
The most recent version of the Internet Protocol is version 6 (IPv6). This blog post will detail the distinctions between version 4 and 6 as well as clue you into the benefits of adopting the IPv6 standard.
How Is IPV6 Different from IPV4?
IPv4 is the most common Internet Protocol used to connect devices. IPv4 uses a 32-bit address system for a total of over 4 billion active addresses on the IPv4 network. While 4 billion seems like a lot, the expansion of the Internet has shown there’s a clear need for more IP addresses. With cell phones, tablets, Bluetooth players, TV’s and even refrigerators now able to connect to the Internet, there’s a need for more addresses.
IPv6 is the answer to accommodating our world that becomes increasingly connected by technology every day. IPv6 has been under development since the 1990s and was finally launched in 2012. IPv6 can coexist with IPv4 and is designed to grow at the same pace as the Internet.
Why Do We Need IPv6?
The bottom line is we’re running out of IPv4 addresses to use. Computers, game consoles, smartphones and even home appliances can all connect to the Internet, and the Internet Protocol needs to expand to accommodate these new devices. IPv6 addresses have 128 bits which allow for over 340 trillion active addresses.
IPv6 compatible devices can also do things like generate their own local addresses and connect to the rest of the Internet. IPv6 compatible devices can also communicate with each other by directly reaching out to their IPv6 addresses. IPv6 technology allows all of this done be done at a large scale, instead of the limited scale of IPv4.
While many of the features of IPv6 are compatible with version 4, IPv6 allows things to be done on a massive scale that isn’t possible with older technology.
What Are the Benefits of Switching Over to IPv6?
IPv4 & IPv6 devices are designed to run simultaneously alongside each other. There’s no rush to switch to IPv6 right away, but it’s something you should keep in mind, especially if you run a business. IPv6 has many features that makes working on a wireless network much easier and more secure than IPv4. Here are a couple of reasons why IPv6 will eventually become the standard.
Version 6 Offers Better Security
Because of the older technology, IPv4 has some limitations. The network security threats that exist today weren’t anticipated when IPv4 was first developed. IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) ensures protection when sending IPv4 packets but there is no set security standard for IPv4.
With version 6, IPSec is built directly into the IPv6 framework. IPv6 is designed to provide confidentiality and data integrity by forcing the same security standards for all IPv6 devices. Most corporate firewall management teams outright block IPv4 ICMP packets because of their potential to carry malware. IPv6 is a much more secure and reliable way to transfer data.
Data Flows Better in Version 6
IPv6 also has some features that increase the efficiency of transferring data. Instead of using broadcasting to send packets like IPv4, IPv6 supports multicast, which helps you save bandwidth.
Multicasting is when you transmit a packet to multiple destinations in a single send operation. Unlike broadcast, multicast doesn’t need to send the packet to all hosts on the network. Instead, multi-casting allows you to send the data all at once and skip unnecessary destinations, which saves energy, time & bandwidth.
This blog post has merely scratched the surface of all the potential applications of IPv6. As we continue to find new ways to use the Internet, the benefits of IPv6 will become more and more valuable.