What exactly is IPv6?

Most of us have heard rumblings about the Internet transitioning to IPv6. What exactly it will mean, however, is still lost on many. Read on for an explanation of IPv6 and how it might affect you.

What it is

IPv6 is the most recent version of IP, or Internet Protocol, which is the method by which data is sent over the Internet. IPv4 is the version of IP that has been used up until now, but it is running out of addresses. This is where IPv6 comes into play.

IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses rather than the 32-bit addresses used by IPv4. The longer number strings allow for more addresses because there are a greater number of possible combinations. 

How the transition may affect you

The biggest issues pertaining to IPv6 will probably come during the initial transition. Whether or not you will experience a problem accessing a page will depend on your browser and the Web server of that domain. Potential problems include:

  • If you’re using IPv6 and you attempt to access an IPv4 site, you may receive a “404” error.
  • If you are using a network that only supports IPv4, you may not be able to access IPv6 sites – you can reconfigure your network in order to fix this.

Despite these potential hiccups, many people agree that you are unlikely to experience significant problems during the transition.

How to avoid IPv6-related problems

If you’re encountering connectivity problems, there are a few sites you can go to that will help you determine whether or not they are related to IPv6. Try going to http://omgipv6day.com/ or http://test-ipv6.com/ which will both tell you what problems you may experience, if any, and what changes you need to make in order to fix them.

Although there is potential for some bumps in the road due to the move to IPv6, chances are, you won’t be affected much. For more information on IPv6, check out this article.

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