Be IPv6 ready sooner rather than later

But is your Internet Service Provider ready for it? There are a lot of devices connected to the internet and just like buildings in the real world, these devices need addresses so data knows where it’s headed. We’re using more devices than ever before: smartphones, IoT gadgets, the list goes on, and all those devices need unique addresses. Internet protocol (IP) addresses are those internet addresses, but lately there’s been a problem which IPv6 looks to solve.

32-bit addresses called IPv4 were deployed in 1983, unfortunately, 32 bits means only 4,294,967 possible addresses – and in this day and age, that’s literally nothing. All of these addresses have all been used up (which is no surprise to anyone!) Hence, birth of IPv6.

IPv6 is 128 bits, allowing for a LOT more addresses: 340, 282, 366, 920, 938, 463, 374, 607, 431, 768, 211, 456…to be exact. IPv6 has been in development since 1996 because engineers always assumed addresses would run out. Other workarounds were proposed, but they all had serious limitations, and in the end engineers realised they simply had to create a more sustainable system.

The transition is moving slowly, however, because there’s no added benefit to users. As of January 2016, only 10th of internet connections were using IPv6. Experts think it will take a major event to push more users to the new standard, such as a hack that weakens IPv4 security. However, with the number of internet-enabled devices growing at an exponential rate there may not be an option soon.

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Why does all of this matter?

The internet will run better. Simply put, afterthought fixes such as NAT break capabilities that equipment manufacturers, especially those building IoT devices, are counting on being available. This does bring additional security concerns as devices will then be potentially reachable on the internet. This does bring additional security concerns as devices will then be potentially reachable on the internet.

Spectrum and IPv6

We are dual-stacked and ready to roll with IPv6. This allows all computers to communicate with each other. In a dual-stack IP environment, every networking device—computer, server, switch, router and firewall—will be configured with both an IPv4 and IPv6 address. This allows us to process any traffic at the same time.

Most ISPs are saying that their customers will not be impacted by IPv4 address depletion “in the near term,” which makes it sound as if they might be affected somehow and in some way sooner or later. Indeed, for some select customers, they advise that if you need to implement IPv6 in the near future, you should contact your ISP right away.

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