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IPv6 – The New Internet Protocol

Not many of us may know this, but in a short span of time the worldwide internet as we all know it – may run out of available IP addresses. IP? What’s that? Well, IP stands short for Internet Protocol and is the one standard protocol required for anybody to be able to connect to the internet. Every gadget or PCs around which needs the Web must have their own unique IP address to be able to connect online. The current IP standard still in use as of today is the 20 year old IP version 4 or IPv4. I work as a freelance tech support specialist, computer cafe administrator and webmaster, which makes me pretty much familiar with these IP conventions. I guess you might have seen the numbers 192.168.1.1 or anything looking like such a large set of numbers whenever you run into trouble with your router, your ISP provider or just playing LAN or Online games. This is the IP address produced by the IPv4 which uses the 32 bit addressing scheme that provides us all with 4.2 billion possible unique IP addresses. What a gargantuan number, but be warned since there are 6.5 billion people in the world today and that everyone may likely be hooked-up online one way or another sooner. It becomes pretty urgent to find a way in preventing the drought of IP addresses – welcome IPv6. In stark contrast, IPv6 uses not four sets of triple numbers like IPv4 (e.g. 123.123.123.123) but it balloons to eight sets of not decimal values but hexadecimal (these are numeral systems related to binaries). One example will be 4dde:73aa:2002:3954:0:8738:a4bd:fcf3. Now try memorizing that! It’s not even separated by full stops (or dots) but by colons. Just a primer, IPv6 leaves IPv4 to the dust as it can produce unique IP addresses of up to 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456. Whoa! That should quench the webs’ thirst for IPs! Let’s forget the paranoia with the numbers, we’ll go on to IPv6 features compared to granddaddy IPv4.

IPv6 new features:

  • Default IPsec
  • Larger address space
  • Stateless autoconfiguration of hosts
  • Multicast
  • Anycast
  • Better VoIP Performance
  • Jumbograms
  • Faster routing
  • 128-bit length addressing
  • Simpler Configuration

Next stop, we will talk about how to install IPv6 in Windows XP.

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