The different versions of the Internet Protocol IP

First of all, it is important to mention that there are two versions of Internet Protocol (IP): IPv4 and a new version called IPv6. The IPv6 is an evolutionary upgrade of the Internet Protocol. The IPv6s will coexist with higher IPv4 for some time.

The IPv4 as a Protocol

IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) is the fourth revision of the Internet Protocol (IP) that is used to identify devices on a network through an addressing system.The Internet Protocol is designed for use in interconnected computer communication networks packet switching systems.

The IPv4 protocol is the most widely deployed Internet protocol used to connect devices to the Internet. The IPv4 uses an addressing scheme that allows 32 bits over more than four billion addresses and although this is a quite big number, a shortage was forecasted long time ago. This limitation of IPv4 stimulated the development of IPv6 in the 1990s, which has been in commercial deployment since 2006. IPv4 reserves blocks of especial addresses for private networks (over 18 million addresses) and multicast addresses (270 million addresses).

As mentioned before, the number of IPv4 addresses that have not been used over time will be running out; this due to each device - not only computers but also smart phones and game consoles - connecting to the Internet requires an address. As addresses are assigned to users, the number of unassigned addresses decreased specially with the proliferation fo the new technologies. The IPv4 address exhaustion occurred by February of 2011, although it was delayed considerably due to the changes in adressing. The Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) was the first router in depleting IPs regional stocks which happened in 2011; however, a small amount of IPs were reserved for the transition to IPv6 addresses which would be allocated in a more restricted policy.

The long-term solution which was accepted and is now the standard is the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). This new protocol has increased the IPv6 address size, then it is now of 128 bits, it also provided an enormous increase in the address stock, which also allowed the creation fo improved routes over the internet. In addition, it provided news routes for allocation of large amounts of subnets, improved the route aggregation to end users. However IPv4 addresses can simply not communicate directly with IPv6s. further, the latter do not provide an immediate solution to the depletion of IPv4. Therefore there is a migration to IPv6 in progress, but it is presumed that completion can take considerable time. Nonetheless, the new system of Internet Protocol addresses version 6 (IPv6) is being deployed to meet the need for more Internet addresses.

The IPv6 as a Protocol

As mentioned before, there are two versions of the Internet Protocol (IP) that are in use: IP version 4 and IP version 6. Each version defines a different IP address. Because of its prevalence, the generic term "IP address" still refers to the addresses defined by IPv4 typically. There is a gap in version sequence between IPv4 and IPv6 as a result there was an experimental Streaming Protocol in 1979, which was never referred to as IPv5 though.

The IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is also known as Ping (Protocol of Internet Next Generation) and it is the newest version of the Internet Protocol (IP) which was revised by Internet Enginering Task Force (IETF) during the standards committees to replace the current version of IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4). IPv6 is the successor to Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). It was designed as an evolutionary upgrade of the Internet Protocol and may, in fact, coexist with the older IPv4 for some time. IPv6 is designed to allow the Internet to grow steadily, both in terms of the number of connected hosts and the total amount of data traffic transmitted. The IPv6 has been in development since the mid 1990s; it was born from the concerns that the demand of IP addresses would someday exceed the available supply.

although increasing the pool of addresses is a topic often discussed as the benefit of IPv6, there are other important technological changes that will improve the IPv6 protocol:

  • The NAT (Network Address Translation) is deprecated
  • Private addresses will no have crahses
  • The multicast routing will improve
  • General routing will be more efficient and simplified
  • Improved quality of service(QoS)
  • More support authentication and privacy function
  • Flexible extensions and options
  • Easier administration without using DHCP

The difference between IPv6 and IPv4 IP

An IP address is a binary number but can be stored as text for human readers. For example, a 32-bit numeric address (IPv4) is written as four decimal numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to 255. For example, 1117123222 could be an IP address. At the beginning, we could say that this direction is quite long and complex so it would be difficult to handle; however there are methods for simplifying and shortening this notion.

As mentioned earlier, IPv6 addresses are 128-bit IP addresses, written in hexadecimal numbers separated by colons. An example of IPv6 address could be written as: 3ffe: 1765: 4865: 9: 320: f8ff: FE13: 58kg. The directions are represented by 8 groups of 16 bits each. Each group is written as four hexadecimal digits, as can be seen in the example above.This number could seem to be quite long and complex and then it would be difficult to handle but thanks to certain rules that cab be applied (in some cases) the notion can be easily shortened and manageable. These rules are as follows:

  • One or more zeros of any group can be removed if they are on the left and on top of the group, i.e. the number 0023 can be easily shortened to 23.
  • consecutive series of Zeros can also be replaced with the use of "double-colon" (::). However, the technique has a limitation, it can be used only once in each IP address due to it could render an undetermined direction because of the possible redundancies it may cause with the single colon.

Based on the theory, consider the next an IPv6:

1009:0db7:0000:0000:0000:ff00:0026:2109

if we omit the zeros that are at the beginning of each group then we will get:

1009:db7:0:0:0:ff00:26:2109

.

Now if we omit the groups of consecutive zeros then we get:

1009:db7::ff00:26:2109.

Therefore, the IPv6 identified as: 0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:8000 could be shortened as::8000 if the rues are properly applied.

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