IPv6 – what does it mean?

Virtually all of us have heard rumblings about the Internet transitioning to IPv6. What precisely it will mean, however, is still lost on many. Read on for an explanation of IPv6 and how it may possibly affect you.

What it is

IPv6 is a version of IP (Internet Protocol) that has been created due to the previous version having a limited number of addresses. IP is the method by which data is transmitted over the Internet. Running out of addresses essentially means that new websites will no longer be able to be created.

IPv6 enables additional addresses by using longer number sequences, which allows for a greater number of unique combinations (IPv4 used 32-bit addresses, where IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses). Today is World IPv6 Day, which marks the initial transition from IPv4 to IPv6.

How the transition may affect you

Most likely, some challenges will come about during the transition. Most problems you may run into will likely be related to the browser you’re using and/or the Web server of the site you wish to visit. Some potential problems include:

  • If you’re using IPv6 and you try to access an IPv4 site, you may receive a “404” error.
  • If you are on 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 possible hiccups, many people agree that you are unlikely to experience significant problems during the transition.

How to avoid IPv6-related problems

If you’re experiencing 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 the transition to IPv6 may be confusing at first, it likely won’t cause too many major problems. For more insight into the IPv6 change, check out this PCWorld article.