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What you need to know about IPv6

04 Jun 2015

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The Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol. One of the myths associated with IPv6 is that the only reason to adopt IPv6 is the forthcoming depletion of the IPv4 address space.

The expanded address space of IPv6 is not the only improvement made in the protocol, however. IPv6 does solve the IPv4 address problem, but it also improves upon the current Internet Protocol in other areas including: improved addressing architecture, a stateless address autoconfiguration mechanism, a less expensive address resolution protocol, header format simplification, the ability to detect and recover from a failed forward route, and an improved method to join and leave multicast groups.


Dual stacks

The Internet will consist of a combination of IPv4 and IPv6 nodes for an indefinite period. Therefore, compatibility between IPv4 and IPv6 nodes is critical for a successful transition to IPv6. Because IPv6 is not backwards compatible with IPv4, a dual stack approach is needed to enable nodes to communicate over both IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously. This approach paves the way for transition mechanisms that will enable the Internet to move to IPv6.

Although the dual stack approach is the recommended transition mechanism for networks, IPv6 implementations can also be used in IPv6-only mode for isolated IPv6 networks. This removes the additional overhead of the IPv4 stack for those devices that do not require IPv4 tunneling.

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