IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is a revision of the Internet Protocol (IP) developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). IPv6 is intended to succeedIPv4, which is the dominant communications protocol for most Internet traffic as of 2012. IPv6 was developed to deal with the long-anticipated problem of IPv4running out of addresses. IPv6 implements a new addressing system that allows for far more addresses to be assigned than with IPv4.
Each device on the Internet, suchas a computer or mobile telephone, must be assigned an IP address in order to communicate with other devices. With the ever-increasing number of new devices beingconnected to the Internet, there is a need for more addresses than IPv4 can accommodate. IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, allowing for 2128, or approximately 3.4×1038addresses — more than 7.9×1028 times as many as IPv4, which uses 32-bit addresses. IPv4 allows for only 4,294,967,296 unique addresses worldwide (or less than one addressper person alive in 2012), but IPv6 allows for around 4.8×1028 addresses per person — a number unlikely ever to run out.
IPv6 addresses, as commonly displayed tousers, consist of eight groups of four hexadecimal digits separated by colons, for example 2001:0db8:85a3:0042:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.
The deployment of IPv6 isaccelerating, with a World IPv6 Launch having taken place on 6 June 2012, in which major internet service providers, especially in countries that had been lagging in IPv6adoption, deployed IPv6 addresses to portions of their users. Data from Arbor Networks showed a peak of 0.2% of Internet traffic on IPv6 during the launch.
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