Why do we need IPv6?

The internet is coming to an end? No more IP addresses? No more internet?

The internet is built upon a protocol suite called TCP/IP. This abbreviation stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. When your computer communicates with the internet over this protocol, a unique IP address is used to transfer and receive information. Yesterdays IP standard is called IPv4, which was standardized in September 1981. Today we are running out of IPv4 addresses with only 4% of them left.

IPv6, also referred to as IP Next Generation (IPNG), was created to supersede IPv4. Yet only one percent of the entire world has requested an IPv6 address instead of an IPv4. The worst part is that most ISPs and services still only deliver IPv4 addresses. Is the internet coming to an end? Well, maybe not tomorrow but after reading this post you’ll probably want to switch to IPv6 asap.

If you read the comparison below, you’ll see that we need to use IPv6 in the near future and not in the distance future.

The most important feature of IPv6 is a much larger address space than in IPv4. IPv6 addresses are 128 bits long, compared to only 32 bits previously. While the IPv4 address space contains only about 4.3 billion addresses, IPv6 supports approximately 340 undecillion (3.4×10^38) unique addresses, deemed enough for the foreseeable future.

Total number of IPv4 IP Addresses: 4.294.967.296
Total number of available IPv4 IP Addresses: 171.798.692

Total number of IPv6 Addresses: 340.282.366.920.938.463.463.374.607.431.768.211.456
Total number of requested IPv6 addresses (not in use): 2.213.609.288

The unique IP address is given to you by your provider. With more and more devices enabled for web browsing – e.g. phones, TV’s, MP3-players and tablets – comes an relentlessly increasing demand for IP addresses. Evermore devices need a unique IP address to browse the internet. If the calculations are correct, at this rate the IPv4 addresses will run out in exactly 114 days.

You could run all devices behind routers using NAT, short for network address translation. Using NAT you can have 1 public IP address for 3 or 4 devices whereas each device gets a different private IP address behind a firewall. A good idea but still, with only ±171 million IPv4 addresses available, this probably won’t be enough.

Why haven’t we switched already?

IPv6 gives the consumer the possibility to change the infrastructure of the standards on the internet and a possibility to work in an open development setup. For some governments this open development poses a presumed risk. Of course with Open Government we’re trying to change that vision.

IPv4 is the standard and standards are really hard to change. All the web applications have to enable IPv6 otherwise it just won’t work. Take Google: they enabled IPv6 on Google maps and immediately saw an increase of IPv6 requests. Manufacturers and developers of servers, cell-phones, tablets, desktops and tablets are slowly making IPv6 compatible products and software.

It’s a hackers dream and a companies nightmare. If you want to set up IPv6 you have to turn off all the security devices. If you are running IPv6 the security appliances won’t be compatible with IPv6 so hackers can often bypass them. But as we stated in the paragraph above, manufacturers are developing new devices with IPv6.

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Again, why should we need IPv6?

There are 7 billion people in this world and this number keeps growing. At the end of 2009 there were 4.6 billion mobile devices connected to the internet. The estimated number for mobile devices connected to the internet by the end of 2013 will be 1 trillion. So we need another 995.705.032.704 IPv4 addresses and NAT only is not going to cover that. But IPv6 will.

What we need now is people that are willing to spread this message. Future Internet week is one of those initiatives. You will learn about the advantages of IPv6 and how you can prevent the end of the internet.

Interrested in IPv6? Visit the IPv6 workshop in Ghent December 13th or visit our IPv6 event in Ghent December 14th

Source: http://en.linuxreviews.org/Why_you_want_IPv6
Source: http://www.internetnews.com/infra/article.php/3812486/Why-IPv6-Is-Like-Broccoli.htm
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