With the global population of Internet users skyrocketing and an explosion of ‘smart’ Internet-enabled convergence friendly devices ranging from tablets to appliances, global Internet trends are taxing the existing Internet Protocol, IPv4, which has been in place since 1981. Things are changing fast in the Internet space and it is set to move towards IPv6 era.
Experts say that IPv6 has been designed to supplement and eventually replace IPv4, offering more than enough unique IP addresses for every networked device on the planet. With Internet space running out of unique codes, there is no other option but to go for IPv6 as soon as possible.
Especially when we have vast address capacity, IPv6 eliminates the threat of IP address depletion, as well as offers numerous benefits, including simpler address management and greater security with IPsec.
It is interesting to note that IPv4 is the most widely used version of the Internet Protocol today. It may be recalled that it was designed in the 1970s, IPv4 defines IP addresses in a 32-bit format consisting of four ‘octets’ (8-bit numbers), separated by a ‘.’, e.g., 192.168.1.1.
And back in the early 1980’s, when the only devices with Internet access were large computers associated with the government, military or research organizations, 4 billion possible addresses seemed like a virtually endless horizon.
On the other hand, if we fast forward to today, with an exponential growth in global population of connected users, and we’ve reached the end of available addresses. Hence we must move to IPv6.
Even after considering there are well over 6 billion people worldwide and many people already have more than one device connected to the Internet, it becomes quite clear that 4 billion IP addresses is not enough to sustain our global population and the growing demand for IP services.