As you might be aware that we are running out of IPv4 Public addresses and that’s coming soon! Check some stats here - However, this does not mean the end of the IPv4 Internet as most service providers may still have quite a number of addresses while they can reclaim back unused ones. However, moving on to IPv6 has big advantages and this article deals briefly with the advantages that IPv6 has over IPv4.
First of all, IPv6 provides sufficient addresses for every device that needs to have a unique public IP address. The new address space is enormous since it uses a 128-bit address as compared to only 32 bits of the IPv4. That’s about 3.4 x 10pow38 of IP addresses, imagine having all devices such as, handhelds and household appliances such as TVs, refrigerators, etc. with their own unique Public IP address and a setup that does not need special configuration where we will be able to communicate with these devices over the network or Internet.
Supporting stateful and stateless address configuration makes IPv6 auto configurable and easier to manage. IPv6 uses a series of ICMPv6 messages that replaces ARP broadcast, ICMPv4 Router Discovery and ICMPv4 Redirect messages through the Neighbor Discovery (ND) protocol.
IPv6 makes IPsec mandatory which means data transmitted over the network or Internet must be encrypted and IPSec provides this protection. Quality of Service (QoS) rules would not fail when packets are encrypted as IPv6 has a Flow Label field in its header.
To be compatibility with IPv4, IPv6 header was designed to be compact as to allow network devices recognize and process both headers during the migration phases. Optional fields are moved to extension headers placed after the IPv6 header. On the IPV6 Internet, routing tables are reduced due to route aggregation which permits a number of contiguous address blocks to be manipulated as one address block.
IT pros like me that relate all networking concepts with an IPv4 mindset may drag their feet to start understanding and testing IPv6. As IPv6 usage increases you need to become aware of IPv4 to IPv6 transition tools and interoperability. I will be writing a few articles that tackle IPv6 connectivity issues, how you configure name resolution for unicast and multicast addresses and other IPv6 related info.