The Internet works through protocols, which are numerical combinations that establish connections between computers. When someone initiates the connection to the Internet, thousands of numbers and addresses maintain that connection online, which allows them to follow the trail to be able to exchange data with them.
The IPv4 and IPv6 protocols still cause some doubts to Internet users. It is necessary to know that the IPv4 standard was born together with the network and is now being replaced by IPv6 but, what does each protocol consist of? Precisely this is what we will try to explain throughout this post.
Why the IPv4 protocol is being replaced with the IPv6 protocol
IPv4 means Internet Protocol Version 4, or version 4 of the Internet Protocol. It is the technology that allows computers to connect to the Internet, whatever the device we use for it, such as PCs, notebooks, smartphones, tablets and so on. Each of these devices in the instant that connects to the internet, gets a unique code, to be able to send and receive data with other connections.
As we know, the IPv4 protocol transfers the addresses of 32-bit protocols. With this type of architecture, it can manage approximately 4.29 billion IP around the world, but the explosion of Internet users in recent years has caused a difficult problem: The system is on the verge of not supporting more IP addresses.
In view of this fact, the need to find a replacement was palpable, and it fell to the IPv6 protocol, the sixth revision of Internet protocols and the natural successor of IPv4. Essentially, it fulfills the same function, but in 128 bits.
How the IPv6 protocol addresses the address problem
The new system will support approximately 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 addresses. A practically difficult number to reach. This ensures that the system will be able to support the growth demand of the Internet for many more years. This possibility of growth is due to the fact that the IPv6 protocol works in 128 bits, a clear advantage with respect to IPv4, which works in 32 bits.
How is the protocol change going to be done?
The protocols have already begun to be replaced, in fact, the two systems work in parallel. Google, Facebook and other large companies carry out constant tests to know how IPv6 will work when the final migration begins.
How will this affect users?
In the first instance, it will not affect any type of user. Operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS X. Linux and others have support for IPv6 , the problem is in the routers that should be replaced by more current models to serve the connections.
Now that we know how to solve the problem of the possible lack of IP addresses, we tell you what IPv6 is more in depth so that we can get an idea of its operation, its advantages and disadvantages and how it will improve our Internet connection.
What is IPv6?
Since its inception, the internet has undergone several changes, but none of them was enough to avoid the end of its 32-bit addresses. Internet, from its conception to the present day, has been an extremely important tool for the business world, as well as contributing to other areas such as science, education and of course entertainment. However, if it continued with its addressing capacity compromised by the depletion of IP version 4, it would be seen as an old resource with limited growth.
With the development of the IPv6 protocol, the Internet is ready for the arrival of a true technological innovation, with new models and possible scenarios due to the increase in addressing capacity.
Benefits of the IPv6 protocol
IPv6 aims to replace the previous standard, IPv4, which only supports about 4 billion (4 x 109) addresses, while IPv6 supports 3.4 x 1038 addresses. In view of the growth of Internet users, and the services offered and dependent on it to function, the transition from the version of IPv4 to IPv6 was the necessary step to achieve the natural growth of the network of networks.
In general, the IPv6 Internet protocol allows:
- Better Performance
- Greater security
- Real P2P connectivity
- Mobility with efficiency
This scenario will also allow the creation of various applications and new products with much better efficiency and lower costs. Applications that vary from adding functionalities to mobile devices, Video On-demand based on Multicast IPv6 (e-Television), Voice over IPv6 (VoSix) to new VPN mechanisms based on IPSec (SINC).
With the emergence of new devices that need an IP connection for greater applicability and freedom, it is increasingly reinforced as a trend, the use of the current capacity of the Internet, making it necessary to have new technological horizons, which allow a freedom of choice between the present and the future foreseen.
IPv6: The new Internet standard
If we are not enthusiastic about technology, and we only use our computer to chat, surf or write emails, it is likely that we have not heard that the Internet protocol is being replaced worldwide. If we want to know what will happen to the users and the scope of the IPv6 protocol, all we have to do is continue reading the rest of the article.
Connecting to the Internet is as simple as running Firefox, Opera, Chrome or the browser that we use regularly and accessing the page we want to access. But behind this simplicity of operation hides a complex system that is at the end of its cycle.
At the moment we connect to the network of networks, our router immediately receives a number, more precisely an address, called IP address, which is what allows us to stay connected to the Internet.
The problem, and main axis of the change of standard, is that the current IPv4 system, used for more than 30 years, allows assigning up to 4,294,967,296 (232) IP addresses , which is now about to be completed.
To counteract the possible problems that could happen if this happens, it has worked on its replacement for many years, achieving this new standard called IPv6, which provides a series of improvements, in addition to allowing the allocation of up to 340 sextillion addresses.
Although the application of this new system has been quite slow, the truth is that as time passes, new applications and devices are added to the compatibility lists with the new standard.
How does an IPv6 address look?
Unlike the old system, in which addresses consist of four-thirds of decimal digits ranging from 0 to 255, IPv6 addresses contain eight groups of four hexadecimal digits.
Example of IPv4 address:
Example of IPv6 address:
2001: 0db8: 85a3: 0000: 0000: 8a2e: 0370: 7334
It is also possible that the groups of zeros are omitted from the figure, being as follows:
2001: db8: 85a3 :: 8a2e: 370: 7334
Because of the well-known navigation problem and the colon, IPv6 addresses should be bracketed when entered into the navigation bar of any browser, and should look like this:
http: // [2001: db8: 85a3: 8d3: 1319: 8a2e: 370: 7348] /
Compatibility of routers and programs with the IPv6 protocol
In the event that we wish to migrate to the new address system, we must first consider certain points. The most important is, without a doubt, if our operator supports IPv6.
This doubt can be cleared by calling the technical support of the company that provides the service.
Another important point is to check if our router is compatible with the new IPv6 standard. For this, we can access the IPv6 project page, where we can find a lot of information about it.
In the case of software, the truth is that not all applications today support the new standard. But fortunately in the Wikipedia site, we can find an extensive list of software compatible with the new version of the system.
Although we may find that the programs or devices we use are not compatible, we should not despair, since it is likely that their developers or manufacturers will release updates or firmware to the market to comply with the IPv6 protocol.
Is Windows compatible with the IPv6 protocol?
Definitely yes. In the case that we still have Windows XP installed as an operating system, we will be in a position to use the IPv6 protocol only with enabling it from the command line. For this we execute the system symbol and write the following text:
In the case of being using Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10, we will not have to take any special action, just configure it, since they are prepared to be compatible with the IPv6 protocol.