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IP Version 6 (IPv6) was designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to overcome the shortcomings of IPv4. The solutions include:

  • Increased address space - IPv6 utilises 128bits for addressing compared to the 32bits used by IPv4. This allows for extremely large numbers of unique IP Addresses.
  • Speed maximisation - IPv6 is designed to make the most of network bandwidth and not be slowed by routers.
  • Improved security - IPv6 incorporates encryption and authentication methods.
  • Streamlined Configuration - IPv6 eliminates the need for cumbersome and difficult subnetting schemes and makes Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) work more effectively.

IPv6 is set to replace IPv4 but in order to provide a clean and effective changeover it is likely to be gradual with both protocols co-existing for a number of years to come.

Note: IPv6 is also referred to as IPng, i.e. IP Next Generation.

Next: IPv4 Addresses