Enterprise Networking: IPv6: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Internet Protocols

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-06-05 Print this article Print
Difference Between IPv4 and Ipv6

Difference Between IPv4 and Ipv6

Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are unique numeric identifiers needed by every Internet-connected device. Most of the Internet is currently addressed with IP version 4 (IPv4) addresses; however, IPv4 was not designed for a Global Internet with billions of users. After it became clear in the early 1990s that a global commercial Internet would emerge, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) began development of a new protocol (IPv6) that would meet its needs by offering a much larger IP address pool.
The Internet Society, an international nonprofit organization that advises on Web standards, policy and education, has selected June 6, 2012, as the World IPv6 launch day. This date will mark the beginning of a new phase in the life of the Internet, when IPv6 begins to become a normal part of the Internet experience for everyone—taking over from IPv4. Last year, the Internet Society declared June 8, 2011, as World IPv6 Day to give enterprises and Internet service providers (ISPs) a chance to "stress test" the next-generation Internet protocol to see what works, what breaks and what they need to do to seamlessly migrate their networks to IPv6. It also served as a wake-up call that it's time to upgrade the World Wide Web. On that day, more than 200 Web companies—including giants Facebook, Google and Yahoo—worked with ISPs and content-delivery networks to conduct the first global-scale trial of IPv6. For a 24-hour period, participating companies around the world enabled IPv6 on their main services. Operating systems—including Apple Mac OS X, most versions of Microsoft Windows and most major Linux distributions—have supported IPv6 addresses for a number of years. In fact, since IPv6 addresses are enabled by default in the operating system, if the network has the capability to assign an IPv6 address, the user machine most likely already has an IPv6 address, James Lyne, director of technology strategy at Sophos, told eWEEK in 2011. At some point, the entire Internet infrastructure has to move to using the newer address space, since the differences in the protocols mean that computers with IPv4 addresses cannot communicate with machines with IPv6 addresses. The Internet Society says that time is now. eWEEK takes a look at some of the key differences between IPv6 and IPv4. It also identifies some information you may not know about IPv6.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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