IPv6 Status

Was ist IPv6

IPv6 is short for "Internet Protocol Version 6". It is the "next generation" protocol designed by the IETF to replace the current version Internet Protocol, IP Version 4 (IPv4).

Most of today's Internet and our corporate networks use IPv4, which is now more than twenty years old. IPv4 has been remarkably resilient in spite of its age. In the early seventies, when IPv4 was originally developed, the current size of the Internet was beyond imagination. It is remarkable, that this protocol is still able to be the transport for the Internet. But it hits the limits since quite some time. The most obvious limitation is the address space which is short and running out in the near future. We have helped ourselves by using technologies like NAT (Network Address Translation), but this is not a good long term solution. By using the IPv6 address space of 128 bits (compared to 32 bits with IPv4), the limit on addresses has been extended from a theoretical 4 billion to 340 trillion (3.4 x 10^38) - 2^32 compared to 2^128. But limited address space is not the only reason to move toward IPv6. The designers of IPv6 have learned from the many years of using IPv4. They kept all the strengths from IPv4 and added a lot of functionality which will be needed in our future networks. Especially the advanced autoconfiguration features will allow businesses to deploy a great array of new desktop, mobile and embedded network devices in a cost effective, controlled manner. Interesting Mobility Enhancements will provide the foundation for new types of services that are developed these days.

IPv6 also adds many improvements to IPv4 in areas such as security, mobility, quality of service, scalability of the network architecure and routing. IPv6 is therefore very much suited for scalable and converged networks. A number of transition and coexistence mechanisms have been developed and are constantly improved in order to make the transition a smooth one. It is expected that IPv6 will gradually replace IPv4 within the following years, with the two protocols coexisting for many years during a transition period.

Unlike the "old" IPv4 addresses, IPv6 addresses are visualized in hex format and look like this: 2001:08e0:7d83:7d88:4f84:4c74:1d83. or just 2001:08e0::1

IPv4 depletion and the deployment of IPv6

"Growth and innovation on the Internet depends on the continued availability of IP address space. The remaining pool of unallocated IPv4 address space is likely to be fully allocated within two to four years. IPv6 provides the necessary address space for future growth. We therefore need to facilitate the wider deployment of IPv6 addresses.
While the existing IPv4 Internet will continue to function as it currently does, the deployment of IPv6 is necessary for the development of future IP networks.
The RIPE community has well-established, open and widely supported mechanisms for Internet resource management. The RIPE community is confident that its Policy Development Process meets and will continue to meet the needs of all Internet stakeholders through the period of IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 deployment.
We recommend that service providers make their services available over IPv6. We urge those who will need significant new address resources to deploy IPv6. We encourage governments to play their part in the deployment of IPv6 and in particular to ensure that all citizens will be able to participate in the future information society. We urge that the widespread deployment of IPv6 be made a high priority by all stakeholders."

-- RIPE Community resolution, 27. Oct. 2007