When you connect any device to the internet, it has its own unique Internet Protocol (IP) address that allows for communication between the device and the web. Until fairly recently, the “standard” for IP was IPv4, which utilizes a 32-bit addressing scheme and assigns addresses to more than 4 billion devices across the globe.
However, in recent years, many devices have shifted to using IPv6, a more advanced and secure version of the Internet Protocol. So, what is IPv6, and how does it set itself apart from IPv4? Likewise, why should you be using IPv6 if you’re not already? We answer these questions and more below.
What Is IPv6?
IPv6 technology has been around since 1998. However, because IPv4 seemed to be working well and was seen as the standard, few were in a hurry to upgrade. Specifically, IPv6 sets itself apart from IPv4 by using 128-bit addressing instead of 32-bit addressing. It also has the ability to support more devices (up to 340 trillion, to be exact) than its counterpart.
Recent Developments in IPv6 Adoption
In recent years, an influx of new web security threats and attacks has led to a more widespread and urgent adoption of IPv6 technology. As a result, IPv6 “officially” made its global launch in 2021 – and government agencies, such as the United States Executive Office of the President’s Office of Management and Budget, are now pushing for IPv6 adoption.
Specifically, a memorandum from this office outlines how the use of IPv4 will be phased out gradually across the next several years as devices are upgraded to IPv6. As time wears on, it is believed that more organizations and government offices will follow suit. In fact, it’s worth noting that, according to a Network World article, “most of the world ‘ran out’ of new IPv4 addresses between 2011 and 2018.” This means that we will eventually see a gradual and seamless shift to IPv6 technology.