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What is IPv6, and why aren’t we there yet? | Network World
IPv6 has been in the works since 1998 to address the shortfall of IP addresses available under Ipv4, yet despite its efficiency and security advantages, adoption is still slow.
For the most part the dire warnings about running out of internet addresses have ceased because, slowly but surely, migration from the world of Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) to IPv6 has begun, and software is in place to prevent the address apocalypse that many were before we see where are and where we’re going with IPv6, let’s go back to the early days of internet is IPv6 and why is it important? IPv6 is the latest version of the Internet Protocol, which identifies devices across the internet so they can be located. Every device that uses the internet is identified through its own IP address in order for internet communication to work. In that respect, it’s just like the street addresses and zip codes you need to know in order to mail a previous version, IPv4, uses a 32-bit addressing scheme to support 4. 3 billion devices, which was thought to be enough. However, the growth of the internet, personal computers, smartphones and now Internet of Things devices proves that the world needed more rtunately, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) recognized this 20 years ago. In 1998 it created IPv6, which instead uses 128-bit addressing to support approximately 340 trillion trillion (or 2 to the 128th power, if you like). Instead of the IPv4 address method of four sets of one- to three-digit numbers, IPv6 uses eight groups of four hexadecimal digits, separated by are the benefits of IPv6? In its work, the IETF included enhancements to IPv6 compared with IPv4. The IPv6 protocol can handle packets more efficiently, improve performance and increase security. It enables internet service providers to reduce the size of their routing tables by making them more twork address translation (NAT) and IPv6Adoption of IPv6 has been delayed in part due to network address translation (NAT), which takes private IP addresses and turns them into public IP addresses. That way a corporate machine with a private IP address can send to and receive packets from machines located outside the private network that have public IP addresses. Without NAT, large corporations with thousands or tens of thousands of computers would devour enormous quantities of public IPv4 addresses if they wanted to communicate with the outside world. But those IPv4 addresses are limited and nearing exhaustion to the point of having to be helps alleviate the problem. With NAT, thousands of privately addressed computers can be presented to the public internet by a NAT machine such as a firewall or way NAT works is when a corporate computer with a private IP address sends a packet to a public IP address outside the corporate network, it first goes to the NAT device. The NAT notes the packet’s source and destination addresses in a translation NAT changes the source address of the packet to the public-facing address of the NAT device and sends it along to the external destination. When a packet replies, the NAT translates the destination address to the private IP address of the computer that initiated the communication. This can be done so that a single public IP address can represent multiple privately addressed is deploying IPv6? Carrier networks and ISPs have been the first group to start deploying IPv6 on their networks, with mobile networks leading the charge. For example, T-Mobile USA has more than 90% of its traffic going over IPv6, with Verizon Wireless close behind at 82. 25%. Comcast and AT&T have its networks at 63% and 65%, respectively, according to the industry group World Ipv6 websites are following suit – just under 30% of the Alexa Top 1000 websites are currently reachable over IPv6, World IPv6 Launch are trailing in deployment, with slightly under one-fourth of enterprises advertising IPv6 prefixes, according to the Internet Society’s “State of IPv6 Deployment 2017” report. Complexity, costs and time needed to complete are all reasons given. In addition, some projects have been delayed due to software compatibility. For example, a January 2017 report said a bug in Windows 10 was “undermining Microsoft’s efforts to roll out an IPv6-only network at its Seattle headquarters. ”When will more deployments occur? The Internet Society said the price of IPv4 addresses will peak in 2018, and then prices will drop after IPv6 deployment passes the 50% mark. Currently, according to Google, the world has 20% to 22% IPv6 adoption, but in the U. S. it’s about 32%) the price of IPv4 addresses begin to drop, the Internet Society suggests that enterprises sell off their existing IPv4 addresses to help fund IPv6 deployment. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has done this, according to a note posted on GitHub. The university concluded that 8 million of its IPv4 addresses were “excess” and could be sold without impacting current or future needs since it also holds 20 nonillion IPv6 addresses. (A nonillion is the numeral one followed by 30 zeroes. )In addition, as more deployments occur, more companies will start charging for the use of IPv4 addresses, while providing IPv6 services for free. UK-based ISP Mythic Beasts says “IPv6 connectivity comes as standard, ” while “IPv4 connectivity is an optional extra. ”When will IPv4 be “shut off”? Most of the world “ran out” of new IPv4 addresses between 2011 and 2018 – but we won’t completely be out of them as IPv4 addresses get sold and re-used (as mentioned earlier), and any leftover addresses will be used for IPv6 ’s no official switch-off date, so people shouldn’t be worried that their internet access will suddenly go away one day. As more networks transition, more content sites support IPv6 and more end users upgrade their equipment for IPv6 capabilities, the world will slowly move away from is there no IPv5? There was an IPv5 that was also known as Internet Stream Protocol, abbreviated simply as ST. It was designed for connection-oriented communications across IP networks with the intent of supporting voice and was successful at that task, and was used experimentally. One shortcoming that undermined its popular use was its 32-bit address scheme – the same scheme used by IPv4. As a result, it had the same problem that IPv4 had – a limited number of possible IP addresses. That led to the development and eventual adoption of IPv6. Even though IPv5 was never adopted publicly, it had used up the name IPv5.
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Are You Using IPv6 Yet? Should You Even Care? – HowToGeek
IPv6 is extremely important for the long-term health of the Internet. But is your Internet service provider providing IPv6 connectivity yet? Does your home network support it? Should you even care if you’re using IPv6 yet?
Switching from IPv4 to IPv6 will give the Internet a much larger pool of IP addresses. It should also allow every device to have its own public IP address, rather than be hidden behind a NAT router.
IPv6 is Important Long-Term
RELATED: What Is IPv6, and Why Does It Matter?
IPv6 is very important for the long-term health of the Internet. There are only about 3. 7 billion public IPv4 addresses. This may sound like a lot, but it isn’t even one IP address for each person on the planet. Considering people have more and more Internet-connected devices — everything from light bulbs to thermostats are starting to become network-connected — the lack of IP addresses is already proving to be a serious problem.
This may not affect those of us in well-off developed countries just yet, but developing countries are already running out of IPv4 addresses.
So, if you work at an Internet service provider, manage Internet-connected servers, or develop software or hardware — yes, you should care about IPv6! You should be deploying it and ensuring your software and hardware works properly with it. It’s important to prepare for the future before the current IPv4 situation becomes completely unworkable.
But, if you’re just typical user or even a typical geek with a home Internet connection and a home network, should you really care about your home network just yet? Probably not.
What You Need to Use IPv6
To use IPv6, you’ll need three things:
An IPv6-Compatible Operating System: Your operating system’s software must be capable of using IPv6. All modern desktop operating systems should be compatible — Windows Vista and newer versions of Windows, as well as modern versions of Mac OS X and Linux. Windows XP doesn’t have IPv6 support installed by default, but you shouldn’t be using Windows XP anymore, anyway.
A Router With IPv6 Support: Many — maybe even most — consumer routers in the wild don’t support IPv6. Check your router’s specifications details to see if it supports IPv6 if you’re curious. If you’re going to buy a new router, you’ll probably want to get one with IPv6 support to future-proof yourself. If you don’t have an IPv6-enabled router yet, you don’t need to buy a new one just to get it.
An ISP With IPv6 Enabled: Your Internet service provider must also have IPv6 set up on their end. Even if you have modern software and hardware on your end, your ISP has to provide an IPv6 connection for you to use it. IPv6 is rolling out steadily, but slowly — there’s a good chance your ISP hasn’t enabled it for you yet.
How to Tell If You’re Using IPv6
The easiest way to tell if you have IPv6 connectivity is to visit a website like This website allows you to connect to it in different ways — click the links near the top to see if you can connect to the website via different types of connections. If you can’t connect via IPv6, it’s either because your operating system is too old (unlikely), your router doesn’t support IPv6 (very possible), or because your ISP hasn’t enabled it for you yet (very likely).
If you can connect to the test website above via IPv6, congratulations! Everything is working as it should. Your ISP is doing a good job of rolling out IPv6 rather than dragging its feet.
There’s a good chance you won’t have IPv6 working properly, however. So what should you do about this — should you head to Amazon and buy a new IPv6-enabled router or switch to an ISP that offers IPv6? Should you use a “tunnel broker, ” as the test site recommends, to tunnel into IPv6 via your IPv4 connection?
Well, probably not. Typical users shouldn’t have to worry about this yet. Connecting to the Internet via IPv6 shouldn’t be perceptibly faster, for example. It’s important for operating system vendors, hardware companies, and Internet service providers to prepare for the future and get IPv6 working, but you don’t need to worry about this on your home network.
IPv6 is all about future-proofing. You shouldn’t be racing to implement this at home yet or worrying about it too much — but, when you need to buy a new router, try to buy one that supports IPv6.
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IPv6 Privacy: Protection Against Surveillance & Tracking
Improving Technical Security
8 December 2014
Recently we’ve seen several articles, such as one out today, that assert that IPv6 addresses will make it easier for security services and law enforcement to track you. Surprisingly, these articles seem to miss that when IPv6 is implemented today on mobile devices or other computers, it is almost always implemented using what are called “privacy extensions” that generate new IPv6 addresses on a regular basis.
To put it simply – almost every mobile device or computer using IPv6 in 2014 changes its IPv6 address on a daily basis (usually) to prevent exactly this kind of surveillance.
To step back a bit – if you read any of the documents explaining the basics of IPv6, they inevitably mention that the “auto-configured” IPv6 address for a device is created using the network address and the MAC address assigned to the device’s network interface. This gives a theoretically globally unique address for your computer, mobile phone, or device.
If this were the only IPv6 address your device had, it would be something that could be easily tracked.
The engineers who created IPv6 were very concerned that IPv6 could be used in this way and so way back in 2007 they published RFC 4941 defining “privacy extensions for IPv6” autoconfiguration. This standard defines a mechanism where a device generates a random host address and uses that instead of the device’s MAC address.
The device also changes that IPv6 address on a regular interval. The interval can be set to anything, but typically is configured on most operating systems to be one day. In mobile networks, the IPv6 address may change based on the link to which you are connecting, so as you move around you will be generating and using new IPv6 addresses all the time throughout the day.
As we wrote about in a resource page about IPv6 privacy extensions, the following operating systems use IPv6 privacy extensions BY DEFAULT:
All versions of Windows after Windows XP
All versions of Mac OS X from 10. 7 onward
All versions of iOS since iOS 4. 3
All versions of Android since 4. 0 (ICS)
Some versions of Linux (and for others it can be easily configured)
So if you are using a Windows or Mac OS X computer, or any of the major mobile devices, you are already using IPv6 privacy addresses.
I know from my own network analysis in my home office network that all my devices are constantly changing their IPv6 addresses. (In fact, these IPv6 privacy addresses can cause problems for some applications that expect IP addresses to be stable – which brought about RFC 7217 this year suggesting a way to create a random address when your device is on a given network but then have that change when you move to another network. )
In the end, the ability of security services to track you on IPv4 versus IPv6 is pretty much about the same. With IPv4, you generally have a public IPv4 address that is assigned to the edge of your network, perhaps your home router or the router at the edge of your corporate network. You then use NAT to assign private IPv4 addresses to all devices on the inside of your IPv4 network. On the public Internet, all that an observer can see and track is your public IPv4 address – there is no further information about the device on the inside of the network beyond a port number.
With IPv6, you typically have a public IPv6 network address assigned to the edge of your network and then the devices internally configure themselves using IPv6 privacy extensions. On the public Internet, an observer can see and track your public IPv6 address, but that will be changing each and every day, making any kind of long-term tracking rather difficult or resource-consuming.
We definitely want to see more articles about IPv6 security appearing out in the mainstream media as these are extremely important conversations to have – but when talking about IPv6 addresses and surveillance, let’s please try to focus on how IPv6 is actually being implemented rather than how it could theoretically be done.
NOTE: For a lengthier technical discussion on this topic, please view this Internet Draft: draft-ietf-6man-ipv6-address-generation-privacy
For more information on how to get started with IPv6, please visit our Start Here page to find resources focused on your role or type of organization.
P. S. From a privacy perspective, I am personally far more worried about the application-layer tracking that occurs through “cookies” (including the new “super cookies” deployed by some mobile network providers) and other mechanisms. For these tracking mechanisms, the underlying IP address is completely irrelevant.
Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.
Frequently Asked Questions about ipv6 changeover
Should I change IPv6?
IPv6 is extremely important for the long-term health of the Internet. … Switching from IPv4 to IPv6 will give the Internet a much larger pool of IP addresses. It should also allow every device to have its own public IP address, rather than be hidden behind a NAT router.Sep 22, 2016
Does IPv6 change everyday?
The device also changes that IPv6 address on a regular interval. … In mobile networks, the IPv6 address may change based on the link to which you are connecting, so as you move around you will be generating and using new IPv6 addresses all the time throughout the day.Dec 8, 2014
How long does it take for IPv6 to become obsolete?
Even if that happens, however, CloudFlare predicts that full IPv6 adoption would take seven years, until January 2020. Not impressive. “IP” is Internet Protocol, which gives an address and location to every Internet-capable device.Jun 7, 2013