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It’s the abbreviation of “Internet Protocol version 6”, an Internet layer protocol developed in the 1990s as the successor to IPv4. The IPv6 employs a 128-bit system, rather then IPv4’s 32-bit, to provide approximately 340 trillion unique addresses for users all over the world.
As Internet becomes the global communication network, new applications emerge along with the growing popularity of smartphones, smart PADs, smart TVs, smart grids, Web 2.0, cloud computing and unification of communications. The revolutionary devices and technology advances call for more public addresses to fulfill the need for ubiquitous accessibility and connectivity to the Internet; and the enormous amount of IP addresses offered by the new protocol is one of key solutions.
The new IPv6 brings advantages in three aspects that are critical to an efficient future Internet experience and diversified applications:
Enhanced network management allows devices to have easy plug-and-play network access.
Improved quality of service (QoS) results in more effective throughputs of media contents and better performance of applications over networks.
Improved security through the built-in IPSec authentication and encryption makes it easier for users to have better control, stronger security and higher reliability of applications.
Comparison of Features and Benefits between IPv4 and IPv6
|Address size||32 bits||128 bits|
|Unique global IP addresses||4.3 billion||340 trillion|
|Interconnectivity||No interoperability between privately addressed and globally addressed nodes||All nodes are globally addressed; better communication and connectivity|
|Security interoperability||Absence of security protocols such as authentication and encryption||IPSec on every node; enabling integrity, authentication and confidentiality|
|Mobility||Customization on end nodes are required before mobile connection||MobileIP ensures every node is mobile-ready before mobile connection|
|Quality of Service (QoS)||Differentiated services and integrated services are prioritized through IP-based communication during times of network congestions||In addition to feature with IPv4, ‘Traffic Class’ and ‘Flow Label Fields’ are added to enable more efficient and fine-tuning of traffic differentiation|
For service providers and carriers, delay in IPv6 deployments means losing the best innovation and growth opportunities, as the new Internet protocol soon becomes the fundamental infrastructure just like IPv4 today.
For business and residential users, there are two major IPv6 advantages: uninterrupted, hassle-free end-to-end connectivity and higher end-to-end security for more peer-to-peer (P2P) applications, such as efficient collaborating applications through P2P desktop/TV video conferencing or unified communications applications without the need for expensive servers. For instance, business users can benefit from secure connections for inbound Web users or remote workers as well as outbound email communications from employees.