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Reasons for IPv4 Fading Away and Making Way for IPv6

We cannot think of web browsing without an IP address as this is where a data stream will be directed to go. But with the Internet booming, now the numbers of IP addresses is steadily diminishing and the Internet appears to be running out of IPv4 addresses. These addresses have been assigned hierarchically and as the web population escalates; and the use of web-based devices continues to peak, the American Registry for Internet Numbers faces a crisis of IPv4 addresses. This is not to suggest that web browsing will become limited; it simply indicates that modern businesses will now have to seriously consider shifting to IPv6 addresses.

Ever since the eighties the American Registry for Internet Numbers or ARIN has been looking after deployment of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. The IPv6 has succeeded the IP4 in an attempt to overcome its weaknesses. When supplies of IPv4 addresses declines to 0.000 there shall remain no more addresses left for allocation but till the IPv6 network has been completed, we will require nearly 70 million IPv4s. This raises the pertinent question as to where will one get these addresses from when there are no supplies. When the Internet came about, no engineer has thought that more than 4 million addresses will be used up. This is because no programmer could gauge the exact impact of this phenomenon. When the Internet started to grow, Classless InterDomain Routing of CIDR or Network Address Translation (NAT) were techniques used to give support to the existing IPv4 addresses for about twenty years. Today, internet services providers are seeking support from CGN or Carrier Grade NAT and LSN or Large Scale NAT to extend use of the IPv4 addresses.

How does the IPv6 work?

  • The IPv6 can support an incredibly huge number of IP addresses which is believed to be more than enough for everyone to have a unique IP address.  When IPv6 is launched, more and more machines will start to use the Internet. It has mandatory security features like hiding data which is in transit. Every packet’s header information is made simpler so that it can be processed more efficiently by web routers; the Internet will therefore get a tremendous performance boost.
  • Another point of difference with its predecessor the IPv4 is in their formats. While the IPv4 makes use of four eight-bit sections that are “octets” and a netmask for details on the subnet number, size and host number, in the IPv6, there is a link local address valid on the subnet; it always bears the prefix “fe80::” and then the four words which is the host number.
  • The IPv6 is known for being more secure compared to the IPv4 addresses. For the hacker to attack a site, he will need to identify the hosts on any subnet. In the IPv6, this task has become more complicated due to the sheer size of the subnet. Instead of pinging all hosts together, here hackers will ping an address and wait before pinging another address. Hackers will not only find it impossible to check every IPv6 address, they are also deterred by the IPSec feature which means that card details or passwords etc are much safer on these addresses from eavesdroppers. But viruses which are transferred through emails will continue unabated even with IPv6.
  • While the IPv4 always used a broadcast address which the hacker could spoof easily, the IPv6 does not use a broadcast address and is safe from such attacks. At the same time, not everyone is cognizant of the implications and features of the IPv6 and while they may be secure, new kinds of attacks is bound to surface sooner than later.

Goggle has stated that 10% of traffic to its sites had been made of IPv6 addresses since the beginning of 2016 which is almost twice the number from the previous year. Belgium is at present the country with the most IPv6 connections followed by Switzerland and the US. So, IPv6 appears to be the thing to look out for as far as online businesses are concerned. They should be moving towards deploying the IPv6 as it is the next logical step. This is however not to suggest that the IPv6 will be completely secure; it is desirable as embracing new trends is the best way to stay ahead of your competitors.

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