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Thursday, 9 June 2011

Internet Protocol version 6 - (IPv6)

Location: Newcastle, NSW. Australia. Newcastle NSW, Australia


Do you know what IPv6 is? Do you know what it means to you? Do you even know what it does? I didn't, was blissfully unaware of it, until, maybe, last month.


I am not even going to try and explain it to you, but I will try to tell you what it is, and what it means to Internet users. OK?

Many years ago in Australia, we used eight (8) digit phone numbers. We were running-out, fast! So, the powers-that-be decided that we should move to a digital system, increasing the digits to ten (10). This allowed for continued growth in the population and the demand for numbers. This IPv6 business is along the same lines.

What is an Internet Protocol?

Basically, an IP is a means of communication between a source and a destination (client to Server) - in the digital language which computers use. It is the principal way of delivering packets of data across an Internetwork. The IP is the Primary Protocol, which is the established basis of the Internet. We see an example of it, every day, when we see a URL. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http), which precedes most URLs, is a Networking Protocol and the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web. It is also a member of what is referred to as the Application Layer of the Internet protocol Suite, and there are many different layers...eg: Transport Layer, Link Layer, Internet Layer.

Until recently, the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) was used as a Correctionless Protocol for use on packet-switched Link Layer networks. It has been the one we have been using since the early 1980s, and it replaced IPv3. Trouble is, that as data is transferred in packets, containing two numeric addresses (origin and destination). The growth of the Internet has mandated a need for more addresses than is possible with IPv4. The latest version,IPv6 allows for vastly more addresses. (We're talking billions, here, folks)!
Read on -


Internet Protocol version 6 - IPv6, has been introduced to deal with the eventual, and long-awaited exhaustion of the IPv4 addresses. The mathematical formula for working these figures, leaves me cold. We're talking big figures, like 3.4 x 1038, or more zeros than my computer can type!

Google added a brief explanation on a help page, and also a link for testing if your Internet Connection is compatible with the new IPv6. You can test your Internet connection is compatible, HERE.

Part of that help page states;

"IPv6 connectivity issues

Over 99.9% of users do not have any problems going to IPv6-enabled websites. However, in rare cases, users may have IPv6 enabled, but not working properly. This may cause delays and connection problems when visiting Google and other participating websites on June 8.

IPv6 connectivity problems are usually caused by misconfigured or misbehaving home network equipment (e.g., home routers), bugs in operating systems, or issues in ISP networks. In many cases, the problem can only be solved by upgrading or replacing home routers and by upgrading operating systems, or if the ISP fixes it. However, it is possible to work around the problem by using IPv4.

If you experience delays connecting to IPv6-enabled websites, you can work around the problem using one of the following:

  • Use an IPv4-only website, if one is available. For example, you can access Google at ipv4.google.com instead of www.google.com.
  • Upgrade to the latest version of your browser. Older versions of many browsers have known bugs with IPv6, and later versions may incorporate workarounds for IPv6 connectivity-related issues in operating systems, routers, and ISP’s.
  • Install a browser that includes workarounds for IPv6 connectivity problems, such as Google Chrome."

I'm sure more will be written in the future about this.

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