IPv6 101: What You Need to Know

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Have you heard about IPv6? If so, are you wondering what it is? This post explains what IPv6 is … and what it isn’t, along with why it should matter to your business.

By Bruce McKay an excerpt from expertIP

Is IPv6 version 6 of the iPhone? That can’t be it … Apple just launched the iPhone 4, and we all wonder what special tricks the iPhone 5 will bring. The iPad is only on generation 2 (or is it 3?).

Maybe it is a new intellectual property law to protect our technology, patents and information in the new Internet- and cloud-centric world. Speaking of the Internet, how often do we hear about security leaks or privacy breaches from a website or a service provider? Maybe IPv6 is a new form of Internet privacy.

What Is IPv6?

All of the above ideas do not describe IPv6, but they do help us understand why we need it.

How many connected devices do you own or use? Perhaps you have an IP home phone service like Skype? Or maybe you have a mobile phone (or two or three) for both personal and business use? What about a tablet? Or an e-reader? Or a web-connected TV or Blu-ray player? Even cars can now connect via Wi-Fi.

We need to get to all of the data from those devices in the cloud. The proliferation of Internet connected devices, fuelled by our desire to connect everywhere, means that the current method of communicating across the Internet (Internet Protocol version 4) is on the verge of running out of addresses. Once your Internet service provider runs out of v4 addresses, they will not be able to get any more. IPv6 alleviates this problem with a new, larger, more secure address scheme.

Why Should IPv6 Matter to You?

If you have a Windows 7 computer, it can already use IPv6, but to do so it must connect to an Internet service provider that uses IPv6.

New IPv4 addresses are scarce, and soon new businesses will only get IPv6 addresses. If you and your ISP cannot use IPv6, you will not be able to connect to those businesses via email or the web.

Your company needs to plan for IPv6 now, and be ready for a transition plan that runs both protocol versions. Look to your ISP to assist you and watch for IPv6 World Launch on June 6, 2012, to jump-start your learning and planning process.

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