Every computer and device that connects to the Internet requires an Internet Protocol (IP) address. This is like a street address for your computer because it tells servers and other computers where to send data when you want to load a website. A new standard has come out for IP addresses labelled IPv6. This short guide will help you understand and upgrade to this new standard.
Why is IPv6 Needed?
The older IP address standard, IPv4, is running out of available addresses. While there is no need to panic now, experts believe that the last address will be given out in 2014. With no addresses left, it would be impossible to make new devices to connect to the Internet, so manufacturers needed a new standard.
What is IPv4?
IPv4 was the older standard that was first made in the 1980s. This standard uses a 32-bit numerical address and looks like this: 12.34.567.890. Under the IPv4 standard, about 4.3 billion addresses can be created. No one thought the Internet would become as big as it did, so this standard seemed fine at the time.
What is IPv6?
IPv6 was deployed on June 6, 2012 for all major Internet service providers (ISPs). The new address standard uses 128 bits and it can create about four times the number of addresses that IPv4 was able to create.
Since there are significantly more online threats now than there was in the 80s, IPv6 was created with some security in mind. This should make it harder for viruses and hackers to get into networks, and IPv6 is also more stable than IPv4.
What about IPv5?
There is an IPv5, but it was made just shortly after IPv4. This is a standard that was made specifically for transmitting video and audio, but the standard never became was widespread as IPv4 due to a lack of versatility.
What are the Benefits of IPv6?
The major benefit is more available addresses, but there are several other benefits to IPv6. Security will be improved over IPv4, and IPv6 is also better at transmitting data packets for video, audio, games, ecommerce systems and online telephones.
How Do I Upgrade to IPv6?
Upgrading the IPv6 is painless. Most common Internet users have a router or modem that is supplied through the ISP. The ISP is responsible for upgrading your router or modem, so you just need to hook up a new piece of hardware.
You also need an OS that is capable of working with IPv6. Windows users need Windows Vista or higher, and Mac users need 10.7 or higher. Linux users just need to upgrade to the newest version.