IPv6 – Keeping the Internet Available for All
Recently Google announced on their blog the implementation of Internet Protocol v6 (IPv6). Since the first of June the internet is now based on this system of assigning IP addresses. Before this time the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority was running out of IP addresses available, even with the 4.3 million IP addresses that were available with IPv4. As a matter of fact, they ran out of numbers in February.
With the implementation of the IPv6 protocol, 340 trillion, trillion, trillion IP addresses will be available. Two of the main reasons which caused such a vast increase in the need for addresses is the popularity of the internet, and the huge popularity of mobile devices. In Asia the majority of people access the internet via their mobile devices. In North America and Europe many of us have a home computer, a smart phone, a vehicle with an On Star or similar service, and other devices capable of accessing the internet.
Back in the mid 80′s when the internet was rolled out hardly anyone had a home computer, let alone on that could get on the internet. The internet was a tool used by research facilities and the government. It was not until the mid 90′s did the home computer with an internet connection become more common place. Today not only home computers, but laptops, tablets, smart phones, and even vehicles with internet access are all vying for IP addresses. In just 30 odd years the popularity of the internet has grown so much that few of us can imagine what life would be like without it.
So What’s This Mean to You and Me?
Don’t worry, your devices will still work on the internet even if they are not using the new protocol. Developers have “dual stacked” both protocols to work simultaneously. In a recent interview in PC Magazine, Tri Nguyen, a ZyXEL representative (a technology company based in Taiwan), explained that devices using the old protocol will work for the foreseeable future and there is no need to worry. He also says developers realize they can’t just “switch off” IVp4 and expect everyone to make the transition to IVp6.
One of the positive benefits of the new protocol is an IVp6 IP address is much more secure. Since each device will have their own unique IP address, it will be harder for hackers and criminals to intercept your data streams. Before the rollout your router issued IP addresses to the various devices in your home. This made it easier to intercept your data stream. IVp6 was developed to encrypt data packets and streamline data flow.
Eventually all ISP providers will be switching to the new protocol. But for now both will work side by side. Google hails this as the launch of the 21st century of the internet and claims, “you aint’ seen nothing yet”.