| By Fred Langa |
The next standard for Internet addressing — Internet Protocol Version 6 or “IPv6” — is almost here.
Here’s a quick update on IPv6, its status, and what you need to know for the rollout.
Looking for some easily digested details on IPv6
Like many Windows Secrets readers, Peter Matthews wants to stay ahead of the curve:
- “I have read lots of warnings about moving to IPv6, but I cannot find any in-depth info on doing this. I have found little snippets, like how to enable IPv6 on XP, but nothing on whether this is a good idea or a bad one in the short term, and what else is necessary? Do I make the first move, or do I need to wait for my ISP? In other words, is there a road map anywhere?”
Every device on a network has a unique address so that data traveling over the Internet goes to the right place. Right now, we’re all using an addressing standard called Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4). Version 4 has been in use since 1981 — the Net’s dark ages. It was, in fact, the first Internet addressing standard used by the general public.
I’m sure you’ve seen IPv4’s address format: four groups of numbers, with up to three digits per group. For example, a private LAN IPv4 address might look something like 192.168.1.1. A public, routable IPv4 address (such as one assigned you by your ISP) might take the form of 126.96.36.199.
Based on a 32-bit format, IPv4 faces the same limitations found in 32-bit hardware and software — it’s running out of addresses. (IPv4’s limitation has nothing to do with the bittedness of your PC or operating system; it’s a similar but separate problem resulting from 32-bit math.)