The internet has been around for 40 years now, and a lot has happened in its transformation. From the first time a computer accessed the world wide web to now, the changes that have happened can only be quantified as astronomical. From the sheer size of computers used in the 1980s to the microcomputers used today, the world has been changing at the speed of light.

At the center of all these changes, one constant has been crucial. Internet Protocol(IP) is an essential protocol for networks and is used for identifying each device on the network. The assigned IP address allows one internet user to receive data packets and route packets to another internet user for proper communication.

When the internet was launched, Internet Protocol Version 4 IPv4 brought it to life. Unfortunately, IPv4 has many limitations, such as it can only hold up to 4.3 billion devices at a time. Keep on reading to learn where IPv6 comes into the picture and why.

What is IPv6?

The Internet Protocol Version 6 IPv6 is the latest and newest version of IP that has been created by the Internet Engineering Task Force IETF. IPv6 also known as IPng(new generation), is ready for deployment and promises more goodies for internet users than the traditional IPv4.

The first factor that makes IPng stand out is its ability to address IP address limitations that IPv4 has suffered. IPv4 can only handle 4.3billion devices at a time, which has become a big challenge for a world with more than 7 billion people. IPng has the capacity to hold up to 3.4 x 10^38 devices per session, making it more effective.

Why is Internet Protocol Important

There is more to IPs other than just identifying a person on the internet. IP addresses make it possible for individual devices to communicate with each other. They act as identifiers for a specific device on a network. Today, internet service providers already offer both IPv4 and IPv6.

For those purchasing internet services, it is important to understand the differences between these two to make the right choices.

What is IPv4?

IPv4 was developed in the 1980s as the first version of Internet Protocol. The IPv4 is made up of four numbers, each of the numbers separated by a dot. Any IP address in the world under IPv4 is divided into four sections separated by dots.

What are the Benefits of IPv6 over IPv4?

Even though IPv4 has been helpful in propelling the world to where it is now, it still lurks behind when compared to IPng. This is in terms of efficiency, security, and many other factors.

Benefits of IPv6 over IPv4:
  • Efficiency in Routing: One of the important benefits of IPv6 is that it makes routing more efficient. It reduces the size of routing tables, making it possible for individual devices to be identified more easily.
  • Better Packet Processing and Transfer: Computers on the internet communicate through the transfer of data packets. IPv6 offers a simpler packet head, ensuring quicker packet processing and quicker communication than IPv4. This has prompted the shift from IPv4 to IPng.
  • Simple Network Configuration: With IPv4 requires DHCP to configure MAC addresses on the operating system. This process is no longer needed with IPv6. It allows for stateless address autoconfiguration, allowing it to generate its own IP addresses.
  • More Mobility: IPv6 does not follow triangular routing as is the case with IPv4. This allows the host to move between different links without losing connection.
  • More Direct Data Flow: The other very important benefit of IPv6 is that it allows multicast data flow. With IPv4, data is moved through broadcast flow. However, IPv6 allows packets of data that take huge bandwidth to be sent to multiple destinations at the same time, reducing the time taken.
  • More IP Addresses: The most important benefit of IPv6 over IPv4 is that it supports more IP addresses. The addresses supported by IPv4 are only limited to 4.3 billion while IPv6 allows much more addresses.

When the internet was invented, it was necessary for a person to know the four digits of an address in order to communicate with it. With IPv6, this will no longer be necessary. This improvement opens doors for more innovation.

IPv6 is the Future

The future of computing and networks lies with IPv6. Although it is pretty new and many technicians are only getting to learn how it works, it shows tremendous potential in many areas. This protocol will allow more internet users, improve speeds, and allow mobility in data transfers.

While the most outstanding factor is the ability to connect more IP addresses at a time, IPv6 has more to offer to innovators and host service providers. It will improve the rate of communication online, allowing users to access features that were a dream a few years ago.