Mountain Lion: IPv6: Why and is it Needed?

What is IPv6?

IPv6 is the next generation Internet Protocol address standard that will first supplement but eventually replace, the current IPv4 protocol.
The implementation of IPv6 is urgent as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) pool for available IPv4 addresses is exhausted.

What happen to IPv5?

IPv5 was an streaming audio/video protocol named “Internet Streaming Protocol” (ST and later ST-II) that started in 1979. It was created by a group of engineers to transmit video, audio, and simulations over the Internet, it gained some following from IBM, Apple, and Sun, but never really taken off.

Do we need IPv6?

IPv6 increases the address size from 32 bits to 128. This is more than enough for every person to have a private network bigger than the current Internet. Even if everything you own had its own IPv6 address, then you would still not be using more than a fraction of the address space.
There will be enough addresses so every country or major network can be assigned a large range. It can then assign subranges within that to networks that it connects to, and so on. This hierarchical assignment (in theory, at least) simplifies routing decisions.

The Future is IPv6

When IPv6 becomes common place, we’ll probably see new firewalls that allow more in depth blocking of services and devices. The increase of address space also makes it possible to have separate subnetworks, which will be helpful as more and more devices connect to the network.
And we still have a lot to look forward to:

  • The IETF is currently working on mobility and multihoming extensions to IPv6. Mobility means moving from one network to another while keeping the same IP address. So a VoIP call could start on your home network, continue over wireless service and then finish at work.
  • Multi-homing means connecting to more than one ISP at the same time, so that when one fails, communication sessions automatically move over to the other.

The benefits of IPv6 are: Increased addresses, reduced management, more efficient routing, better mobility support, multihoming and increased security.