Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) for Dummies

What is the Internet Protocol?

Simply put, the Internet Protocol is a method which is used by computers to connect with each other to receive and transmit information.

An appropriate analogy would be like that of a telephone exchange system, where each subscriber has their unique telephone number, which can be used by others to contact them. Your computers IP Address is exactly like your telephone number, i.e. it is a unique number for connecting to your computer.

What is IPv4?

IPv4 is the current version of the Internet Protocol which we are using. An IPv4 address looks like 111.222.333.444

IPv4 uses a 32-bit address in the forms of 4 octets which allows the use of upto 4 billion unique addresses.

What is IPv6?

IPv6 is the latest version of the Internet Protocol. It is a different numbering system, which can accomodate many more subscribers. An IPv6 address looks like 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334

IPv4 uses a 32-bit address in the forms of 4 octets which allows the use of upto 4 billion unique addresses.

What happened to the other versions of IP?

How is it differnet from IPv4?

IPv4 and IPv6 comparison

Point of Difference

IPv4

IPv6

 More unique addresses

So whats the problem with IPv4?

The problem is something similar to the Y2K bug, which had not provisioned for the change in the digits of the year at the change of the millenium.

The IPv4 numbering system is running out of numbers to give to people.

Something similar to the Phone Numbering System in Mumbai by MTNL.

About 30 years back, it was only 6 digits Eg. 222 000

Then they  changed the numbering pattern to 282 000

Then they added a 2 at the beginning of all numbers, making it 7 digits and in the example 2 282 000

Then they changed the number by adding a 2 after the exchange code which made the number 8 digits like 2 282 2 000

Even after this, some changes were made in some areas, but it has remained fairly similar thereafter.

In the same way, to allow each internet enabled device to have its own unique number to identify it on the internet, the new IPv6 system was innovated.

What do I need to do to become IPv6 ready?

  • Upgrade the software in your router and networking hardware
  • Replace your networking hardware which is not IPv6 compliant
  • Upgrade your browsers with a browser that can handle IPv6 as well as remain backward compatible with IPv4.

Tools to test your IPv6 readiness: