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IPv6 is here, but what does this mean for businesses?

June 8, 2016

business, web

 

The internet is full! Not really, but it is running out of addresses, or more specifically, IPv4 addresses.

The next generation, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), couldn’t come soon enough; the Asia-Pacific region ran out of addresses towards the end of 2015, Europe will be bled dry by the end of the summer, and North America and Canada only has enough stockpiled to last until summer 2017.

But what does it actually all mean?

What is IPv6?

IPv6 in the next generation of internet protocol used to connect devices to the internet. The most distinguishing feature of IPv6 to its earlier counterpart IPv4 is its ability to connect to more devices.

Where IPv4 is limited to only 4.3 billion unique IP addresses; IPv6 is capable of 340 undecillion. That is an amount I’m not even going to try to explain!

Image by blacknight

Simply put, with new devices from smart phones to tablets continually being released, and more and more internet providers such as BT Business rolling out superfast broadband to businesses and homes alike, IPv4 is soon going to run out of IP addresses as more and more devices are connecting to the internet.

What are The Benefits?

There are other benefits to be gained from switching to IPv6 for example, with so many unique IP addresses available business networks or any other network for that matter no longer needs to share a public IP address, each device can have its own.

This improves efficiency by making internet connection and internal communications through networks more streamlined.

Another notable benefit is the improved security offered with IPv6. Security was not something that was considered in the development of IPv4.

However as more devices become connected internet security increasingly becomes an issue for many people. IPv6 has been developed with improved encrypting to ensure internet traffic is carried to the right destination without being interrupted.

Do you need to switch right now?

This all sounds good but you may be wondering if you need to make the switch right now? The simple answer is no, not yet. For a start not all devices are compatible with IPv6 and IPv4 devices will still work for the foreseeable future. But switching over is definitely something you want to keep in mind.

The best advice is to make a steady transition over to IPv6 as inevitably IPv4 will reach it capacity and IPv6 will become the only option.

When purchasing new devices or setting up new networks consider purchasing devices which are compatible with IPv6.

If your internet service provider is not yet providing IPv6 this will not be a problem as a process called dual stacking allows IPv6 devices to run IPv4.

Were you ever concerned about your internet security? Does the IPv6 encryption give you peace of mind? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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