What is IPv6
IPv6 addresses use 8 sets of 4 hexadecimal addresses separated by a (:) colon. There are 16-bits in each set. An excellent example of an IPv6 Address would be fe80::2000:aff:fea7:f7c. The /64 bit on the end is from the IPv4 days and is called CIDR (Classless Inter-Domain Routing). The CIDR splits the address into 2 parts.
WHY IPV6 when we already have IPv4?-
Since IPv4 was running out of available computer addresses, IPv6 was introduced. IPv4 employs 32-bits of digits, so there is a maximum of 4.3 billion possible addresses. While this seems like a large amount, every computer, printer, PlayStation, and even soda machines require a unique address. There just aren’t enough bits in IPv4 to accommodate them all.
IPv6 was designed to solve the problems of the outdated IPv4. It achieves this by creating a newer version of the IPv4 protocol without any of its limitations. Some of the significant differences between an IPv6 and an IPv4 are its abilities in the areas of security, addressing, routing, administrative workload, and its support for mobile addresses.
Benefits of IPv6-
Stateless auto-configuration means that there is no more need to configure IP addresses. The security of virtual private networks is also strengthened due to built-in support using encrypted and authenticated virtual private network protocols. While an IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, the IPv6 uses a staggering 128-bits. This gives it a 128-bit address space which is a significant rise.
IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6), uses 128-bits which gives it a trillion-trillion-trillion, also called an undecillion (3.4 X 10^38 possible addresses). This is such an absurdly large number that we should have plenty of available IPv6 addresses far into the future. This change from IPv4 to IPv6 remains largely unseen by the public as the devices we buy already includes the upgrade.
What it is comprised of? –
The first half is used as an address for the network and the second part as an address for the device. The first 3 of the 8 groups are the site prefix, the 4th group describes the topology, and the last 4 groups contain the interface ID.
With the added address space, IPv6 addresses are quite different than the previous IPv4 addresses which were held back by a 32-bit max address space. Because of this, the way an IPv6 address is designed is different too. Instead of using decimals and separated by periods like on an IPv4, an IPv6 uses hexadecimal and is separated by colons.
Example of IPv6 address-
An example of an IPv6 address would be- 2ffe:1901:4545:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf. The first 3 bits would be the Format Prefix (FP) such as (001.) the next 13 bits include the Top-Level Aggregation Identifier (TLA ID.)
The following 8 bits are reserved for future use (RES.) The next 24 bits would be the Next-Level Aggregation Identifier (NLA ID.) The Site-Level Aggregation Identifier (SLA ID) takes the next 16 bits with the last 64 bits being the Interface Identifier.
IPv6 holds offers many benefits and enables all of the Internet-connected devices of the world to be joined together. More efficient routing, packet processing, directed data flow, support for new services, as well as enhanced security, give IPv6 the ability to carry us into the future of technology.
Gil, Paul (2017). What is IPv4? IPv6? Why is this Important? Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-ipv4-ipv6-2483315.
Hardiman, Nick (2013). IPv6 Address Breakdown. Retrieved from http://active-technologies.com/content/ipv6-address-breakdown.