IPv6 is a newer protocol that was designed to overcome the limitations of IPv4. IPv4 is reaching its maximum capacity, and therefore cannot support the number of devices that are now connected to the internet. IPv6 uses a different addressing system that allows for a much larger number of devices to be connected. In this blog post, we will discuss the limitations of IPv4 that are overcome by IPv6!. For more details on IP addresses read our guide on how to find your IP address.
What is the problem with IPv4?
Since the publication of RFC 791 in 1981, we’ve been utilizing IPv4. Computers were then huge, costly, and uncommon. The number of IP addresses in the year 2000 was limited to 4 billion, yet it appeared like a considerable quantity when compared to the number of systems.
Unfortunately, IP addresses are not utilized as intended. There are holes in the addressing system. For example, a firm may only use 25 of its 254 addresses (2^8-2) since the left 229 are reserved.
These IP addresses are unassailable owing to the way networks route traffic. As a result, the reported number of individuals with diabetes in the United States has decreased dramatically since 1981.
In the early 1990s, when the Internet was in its infancy and still primarily used by businesses and organizations, the IETF recognized a need. The size of a network address was limited to 24 bits (16,777,214 addresses), 20 bits (1,048,574 addresses), or 16 bits (65,534 addresses) before CIDR came along. It was feasible to split networks into subnetworks before CIDR came along.
If you want 5 IP addresses, for example, your ISP would provide you with a network with 3 bits of information and allow you to utilize 6 IP addresses. The reason for this is that if the private IP addresses were used, your ISP would be able to utilize them more effectively. Private IP addresses allow you to build a network where each device may connect to any other without difficulty, but it’s difficult for machines on the internet to link back to your computer.
The term “personal, hidden” is the most essential portion of this phrase. Your network may be quite big with 16.7 million addresses, and you might subnet your personal network into smaller networks to make managing your own addresses more manageable.
Another disadvantage of IPv4 is that the length of the IPv4 header was not constant. That was fine when route calculation was done by a computer program. Routers are now built with hardware, making it more difficult to process the variable-length headers in hardware. The huge routers that enable packets to travel all over the world are struggling to keep up with the demand. Clearly, an entirely new approach was required, one with fixed-size headers.
One disadvantage of IPv4 is that, at the time the addresses were assigned, the internet was built in the United States. Because these IP addresses are so large, they can’t be assigned to individual devices in other parts of the world. To make routing tables smaller, it was necessary to develop a technique for combining addresses by region.
Another difficulty with IPv4 is that it is difficult to set up and modify. Your Internet service provider (ISP) undoubtedly appreciates this, because the majority of these aspects are handled by your router. However, they’re furious about the problems caused by your ISP.
What is IPV6 and what are its features?
The term “IPv6” refers to Internet Protocol version 6. It’s the next generation of IP (Internet Protocol). The objective of IPv6 is to extend the life span of the Internet by creating a new IP address space that is far more extensive than the current number of 4.3 billion addresses available in the existing IPv4 address space. Although it was designed to solve the problem of IP address depletion, it also provides other benefits.
Because of the additional 128 bits, IPv6 addresses are 16 bytes long, as opposed to IPv4’s 4-byte addresses. We’ve already discussed what IPv6 is and how it benefits IPV4. Let us now discuss the characteristics of IPv6 in further detail.
The original version of IP used a 32-bit address format to accommodate up to 4.3 billion devices. With the growing use of the Internet, personal computers, smartphones, and IoT gadgets, it’s clear that connected devices require more IP addresses than IPv4 allows. An IPv6 address has eight sets of four hexadecimal digits (separated by colons), as opposed to 4 sets of 1 to 3 digits in IPv4.
Some drawbacks of IPV4
- DNS is responsible for allocating IP addresses to hosts. This includes both static and dynamic configurations. Both manual and automated IPv4 configurations are possible using DNS. DHCP must be used to manually configure IPv4, which implies that the system administrator must allocate IP addresses to systems through DHCP. DHCP has a complicated structure, owing to the many administrative tasks needed for its infrastructure.
- Because it was created long before the advent of today’s threats, IPv4 wasn’t designed to defend against them. As a result, the Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) protocol allows network security to use IPv4 by defining it. However, when IPSec isn’t built in from the beginning, and its use is optional, things go wrong.
- Individual address prefixes are assigned in IPv4 so that each may serve as a new router. Today’s Internet features flat and hierarchical routers. Flat and hierarchical routers are prevalent these days. There are more than 85,000 internet backbone router routes to choose from.
- Despite the fact that IPv4 has a mobility specification, it is considered to be inefficient. It is because it has its own infrastructure that this occurs. As a result, the mobility nodes are also inefficient.
Why are people still interested in IPV4?
Despite the fact that demand for IPv4 addresses is on the rise, there are simply not enough of them to go around. We can see significant changes in the price history of IPv4.
The Internet Protocol version 4, or IPv4, is the protocol that allows data to be sent from one computer to another. There are no more IPv4 addresses available in theory. The problem is known as IPv4 exhaustion, and it affects every one of the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) in some manner.
This report explains the depletion of IPv4 addresses, the elements that influence the continual increase in IPv4 prices, and previous market adjustments. We look at the advantages and disadvantages of selling IP addresses as well as other alternatives to losing IP ownership.
IP addresses are a type of identifier that allows all internet-connected devices to communicate. Servers, desktop computers, smartphones, and smart TVs are just a few examples of internet-connected devices. The good news is that non-technical users do not need to purchase or set up IP addresses.
An Internet service provider (ISP) is in charge of allocating IP addresses to its customers, and ISPs obtain their resources from the regional RIR. IANA is responsible for dividing up the whole IPv4 address space among the RIRs.
Upgrade from IPv4 to IPv6
The first is the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, which is fueled by the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon. The second is the enhanced capabilities of routing that come with the evolution from IPv4 to IPv6.
Because of the expansion in network address needs on the modern internet, many industry experts predicted that contemporary IP addresses would be exhausted by the early 2000s. With the advent of the ‘dot com’ era, in which everyone was building websites and connecting to the internet, internet use began to pick up speed.
NAT (Network Address Translation)
With the last Regional Internet Registry (RIR), Africa (AFRINIC) having entered Phase 2 of IPv4 exhaustion in 2020, the prediction was delayed by a few years. IP address translation (NAT) is the term for the method of changing an IP address.
It’s a way to subsume several “hidden” addresses under one public address that’s visible on the internet. Many endpoints may be reached by one internet-connected address rather than the multiple IPv4 addresses required previously, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of IP addresses.
(BYOD) Bring Your Own Device
Over the last several years, the BYOD movement has put a strain on business networks and their address space availability, as organizations find it harder than ever to control access to corporate data. The rapidly changing internet-connected device market, in comparison to the early 2000s, when it was typical to receive a company-supplied cell phone and/or personal computer, has made this practice obsolete.
The emphasis has changed to fortifying internal company networks in order to embrace BYOD without compromising security as employees become more satisfied owing to expanded alternatives and businesses saving expenditures by not having to purchase company-issued devices.
Implementing IPv6 is much easier
There are a lot of routers to select from in the consumer sector, some of which support IPv6 and others that don’t. Businesses must conduct hardware inspections of equipment to identify where improvements are needed. The majority of current operating systems also include native support for both IP versions.
Dual stacking is the technique of operating both IPv4 and IPv6 at the same time since they are not cross-compatible. The transition from one to the other will take time, therefore consumer and business devices must be able to handle both IPs until such a time.
The most time-consuming aspect of migrating to a new network configuration is installing IP Address Management systems that can effectively assign addresses on the network. Because current IPv4 systems are not capable of managing the address lengths as well as routing demands of IPv6, this is the case.
With the aid of this thorough guide on the limitations of IPv4 that are overcome by IPv6!, we hope that you were able to grasp more about the IPv6 protocol and why it is being implemented instead of the widely-used IPv4. We described the main advantages of adopting IPv6, as well as some of its key characteristics. If you want to ask anything or make any comments, please do so in the box below.