IPv6 is short for “Internet Protocol version 6.” IPv6 was created by the Internet Engineering Task Force (The IETF) as the successor to IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) when it became apparent that the need for Internet Protocol Addresses (IP addresses) would surely surpass the amount of IP addresses available via IPv4.
IP Addresses are the numeric identifying addresses that computers and other devices need in order to communicate over the Internet. Since each device built with Internet capability needs to have an IP address in order to send and receive information, it is no surprise that the 4.3 billion, 32-bit IP addresses that make up IPv4 are destined to run out very soon. IPv6 introduces a longer, 128-bit IP address that gives us approximately three hundred and forty trillion trillion trillion new, unique IP addresses.
In hopes to slow down the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses and for people to not have to worry about trying to get the last remaining IPv4 addresses, technologies were created to slow down the depletion IPv4 addresses. One of these technologies is NAT, short for Network Address Translation,
which allows for multiple devices to communicate over the Internet while sharing a single IP address.
For the most part, end users won’t notice much change as the Internet becomes more and more IPv6 friendly. Those who have launched IPv6 are currently running both protocols in parallel since IPv4 addresses and IPv6 addresses can’t communicate directly with each other. It’s important to make sure that your ISP supports IPv6 since end users running on an IPv4-only service may have trouble accessing an IPv6-hosted site. To see if your device can access IPv6 sites click here
If you have IPv6 connectivity then you will get a similar score to the image above. If you do not have IPv6 connectivity then you will only be able to see your IPv4 address.
Having a bunch more IP addresses available to the world isn’t the only benefit of IPv6. With IPv6 comes IPSec (IP Security), bringing more security and privacy of your data via authentication and encryption of each packet you send and receive. One group who will benefit from this added IP security is Xbox One users who peer with other Xbox One users for gaming.
IPv6 hasn’t had the quickest adoption rate because it’s very expensive for ISPs to build the infrastructure to be able to offer IPv6 to their customers. With the IPv4 address pool quickly depleting, they are finally starting to feel the pressure and impending necessity to offer IPv6 to their customers, whether the customers know it or not. Soon enough, IPv6 adoption won’t be a choice but rather a necessity if you want to connect to the Internet.