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March 20, 2019

IPv6 for beginners - benefits and adoption guide

Since IPv4 is rapidly running out of addresses, people try to find an alternative for it. IPv6 is developing at a fast pace, taking the place of the latter one. Even though this development process already reached more than 10 years, the adoption rate in terms of IPv6 is still not positioned where it should. This happens because people don’t know much about IPv6. This short article is meant to explain the benefits of using IPv6 addresses, as well as some tips on how to adopt IPv6 instead of IPv4. Even though the two are related and quite similar from several points of view, there are many differences that need to be pointed out beforehand.

The benefits of IPv6

IPv6 addresses come with several improvements when comparing them to IPv4. First of all, it is paramount to specify that IPv6 addresses work on 138 bits, while IPv4 ones use only 32 bits. This comes as a great improvement. Another relevant difference would be that IPv6 addresses are created using hexadecimal, which causes the address to include no less than 32 hexadecimal numbers. These numbers are separated into eight blocks. The length of an IPv6 address can sometimes be considered a downside, and this is the main reason why users can apply one of the available shortening techniques. The easiest technique to make the address shorter is to reduce 0000 sequences to just 0. A similarity between IPv4 and IPv6 addresses would be that they are both split into network and node.

Using an IPv6 address

Another benefit that IPv6 brings to the table would be the two internal address types that it features. One address type is unique local and the other is link local. The latter address type is not routed on the Internet and it can be adopted in the case of internal networks. Link local addresses don’t require a DHCP server, which is convenient for some. Routing becomes much more efficient with IPv6 because the ISPs can aggregate all the prefixes in a single one. Routing can be done hierarchically and more organized. Compared to IPv4, the Network Address Translation is eliminated, thus encouraging end-to-end connectivity. Services such as VoIP become better when using an IPv6 address, so opting for a lease IPv6 seems to be the most appropriate choice.

For users who require packet processing, IPv6 is definitely the better choice. Because IPv6 addresses do not feature a recalculation process for IP-level checksum, it is much more efficient. IPv6 is less strict in terms of error-control capabilities. For people who avoided IPv6 addresses because their doubts related to security, it is highly important to mention the integration of IPSec in the structure of IPv6. Data integrity is not an issue when selecting IPv6. Starting to use IPv6 addresses is great because they feature an auto-configuration tool that is build in. The router does the job itself, which means no effort is involved in network configuration.

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