Since the beginning of the PC phenomena, Networking has be achieved using Ethernet IPv4 (meaning the IP address uses 32bits). If you investigate your existing LAN address, you will see it looks like aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd, and more specifically it may start with 192.168.x.x. The 32bits limit the number of end-points to 2^32 or 2.17 billon
IPv6 uses 128bit addresses and that looks like
2011:0db8:ac10:fe01:0000:0000:0000:0000and the concept is to allow more discrete end-points on the Internet (ie: read more systems).
Today as noted, the 32bit addresses are quickly approaching exhaustion
A reasonable presentation on IPv6 is in this Wiki
When and where do the addresses matter?
Primarily the IPv6 addresses will benfit
- the Internet backbone
Until this level is all IPv6, there will be no real expansion
- large private networks with a large number of users.
There are two kinds; an ISP like AT&T or Comcast, and large corporations like IBM and GM. These kinds of users currently, with IPv4, have Class A addresses --
IPv4 Network Classes:
- Class A - This is a class for very large networks
126 networks with 16,777,214 (2^24 -2) systems each!
- Class B - Medium size;
forming 16,384 networks with 65,534 (2^16 -2) systems each
- Class C - small-sized networks, like HOME USERS
2,097,152 networks with 254 systems each.
- Class D - a class meant for multicasting only
As a HOME user, we use (better said, only NEED) Class C addresses and IPv6 will never benefit us.
Q? So where does our IPv4 home lan addresses get merged into the IPv6 upstream?
A1: At the ISP gateway. The gateway address to their clients (you & I) will still be IPV4. The upstream address of the gateway is the FIRST possible transition to IPv6.
A2: At our routers. The home router WAN side address may be IPv6 and our lan addresses still be IPv4. Some of us will need new routers to allow this approach. (see the model status summary link below for details)
A3: Last choice and of no benefit to home users, is to use IPv6 even though we only have three or four systems. Our Modems, Routers and NICs will all need to support the IPv6 addressing. This is impractical by virtual of the implications shown in the Fed Mandate (ie: application changes required in paragraph two)
Other IPv6 topics for your review include:
- Verizon assistance
- Are you ready?
- Linksys still doesn't ...
- Vendor make/model status summary