February 27, 2017 | Leave a comment The discovery of the internet was undoubtedly the most significant discovery of the millennium. It led to the unification of the whole world with just a press of a button. The internet opened up a whole new prospect of connecting with people worldwide and made it simpler, faster and more efficient. Today around 40% of the world’s population has access to the internet in their own devices. What Is An IP? The method or protocol using which data is sent from one computer to the other over the internet is known as IP or Internet Protocol. Every computer that is connected to the internet has its own unique identifier in the form of an IP address. Thus each of the 3.5 billion devices which can access the internet has separate IP addresses! Whenever data is sent or received, the message gets divided into small modules known as packets. All of these packets contain the sender’s IP address and the receiver’s IP address. First, the packet is sent to a gateway computer. Here, the gateway computer processes the destination addresses and forwards the packet to a secondary gateway. Then, this gateway, reads the destination address and this continues so on and so forth across the Internet until one gateway recognizes the packet as belonging to a computer within its close surrounding, also known as the domain. Then, this gateway sends the packet to the computer whose IP address is mention in the packet data. What Is IPv6? IPv6 is the short form of “Internet Protocol Version 6”. IPv6 is the Internet’s next-generation protocol, which is designed to effectively replace the current Internet Protocol, IP Version 4 (IPv4). IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force, an organization which caters to the development of Internet technologies. The IETF anticipated the need for more IP addresses due to the exponential increase, created IPv6 to accommodate the growing number of users and devices accessing the Internet. IPv6 adoption has allowed more and more users and devices to communicate on the Internet. Under IPv4, every IP address was only 32 bits long, which allowed 4.3 billion unique addresses. Whereas, IPv6 addresses are 128 bits, which allow for over three hundred and forty trillion, trillion unique IP addresses. Advantages of IPv6 1. Larger IP Address Space: The major edge that IPv6 has over IPv4 is that the later used 32 bits for allocation of IP addresses which allowed only about 4 billion unique IP addresses. Whereas IPv6 uses 128 bits of allocation of IP addresses and thus can store up to 340 billion times four (3.4×10^38) IP addresses, which is almost more than the population of the earth! 2. Assignment Of Client-Side IP Address: An inherent feature of IPv6 allows automatic and dynamic assignment of IP addresses by a client device. Therefore unlike in IPv4, a DHCP server is not required. This, in turn, makes it more efficient as routing becomes simpler and cost of managing IP distribution decreases. 3. Assignment Of Multiple IP Addresses: One of the most interesting features of IPV6 is that it allows assignment of more that one IP address to one device. This helps increase the versatility and flexibility of the device as one can stay connected to several networks at the same time without having to shuffle between multiple devices. 4. Simplified Error Control Mechanism: IPv6, unlike in the IPv4 has no checksum verification mechanism. Considering the fact that everything sent via an IPv6 network has its own error control mechanism, therefore checksum verification at IP level is not required. This, in turn, makes the connection faster and more reliable. 5. Built In Encryption: IP Security or IPsec provides cryptographically based security at the IP level. The addition of IPsec was optional in IPv4, but IPv6 comes with IPsec built in it. This makes it way more secure and less prone to breaches that the older IPv4. Thus we see that IPv6 adoption has revolutionized the internet. It has brought a change in which we perceive the entire concept of the internet. This change has opened a route for future inventions and is the stepping stone to the next big revolution coming our way which is the internet of things.