IPv6 – What is it and Why Was it Created?

Chris Pendleton — General Manager, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center

History

On July 14, 2017, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) went live[1]. Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs), home and business networking equipment manufacturers and web companies adopted this new protocol, which was then standardized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as the latest Internet Protocol (IP) standard. IEEE is an association dedicated to advancing innovation and technological excellence for the benefit of humanity and is the world’s largest technical professional society designed to serve professionals involved in all aspects of the electrical, electronic and computing fields. The IEEE Internet Protocol standard that most people know is version 4 (IPv4). One way to explain the difference between a Public and Private IP is to think of an apartment complex. The primary address of the complex is the Public IP, and the different apartment unit numbers are the Private IPs. To communicate or send mail to the individual units (Private IP), you need the main address of the apartment complex (Public IP). Public IP addresses are essential for devices to communicate over the Internet as private IP addresses are not routable on the Internet.

Now that you have a little background about IPv4, IPv6, IEEE, and Public versus Private IP addresses you are probably asking the question most would ask: what is IPv4/IPv6 and why do we need IPv6?

IPv4/IPv6

IPv4 is currently the most used Internet Protocol, standard for most residential internet services, and is the internet Smart City Networks provides at one of our 39 facilities. IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are used to communicate with one another via the internet or a Local Area Network (LAN), IPv4 is used for both hardwired connections and wireless connections. IP addresses allow computers, printers, web pages, cell phones, smart TVs, and many more devices to communicate with one another all over the world.

Why IPv6 is Needed

The Internet of Things (IoT) predicts by 2020 there will be over 30 billion connected devices which double the amount of the 15 billion connected devices in 2015[2]. With the advancements in technology, many new devices will be connected to the internet. These devices range from your TV, your washing machine, your refrigerator, and to your garage door opener. But why does IPv4/IPv6 care how many devices are connected? Here is why; 4,294,967,296 is the amount of public IPv4 addresses available. On February 3, 2011, the world ran out of IPv4 public IP addresses[3]. Since IPv4 has run out of public addresses, a new Internet protocol was needed. In response to the space limitations under IPv4, Smart City took the necessary steps to adapt by securing adequate IPv6 address blocks back in 2015. With IPv6 becoming a new standard, it now gives the world endless opportunities for web-enabled devices to be connected to the internet. IPv6 has roughly 340 undecillion (12 commas) IP addresses; that is 1028 times larger than IPv4.

In closing, with the connected society we live in, the adoption of IPv6 will give us the ability to be even more connected. Through web-connected devices, we will be able to unlock our doors, start our cars, turn on the oven or shut off our lights, all from our smartphone. With IPv6 there is virtually no limit to the number of devices that we will be able to connect to the Internet. Stay connected my Friends!

[1] https://www.internetsociety.org/blog/2017/07/rfc-8200-ipv6-has-been-standardized/

[2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/471264/iot-number-of-connected-devices-worldwide/

[3] https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/press-materials/release-03feb11-en.pdf