You may have heard about IPv6 and wondered what on earth it is and what it will mean for you when this new Internet Protocol is introduced. This article should help to answer those questions:
What is IPv6?
Every device that connects to the Internet is given a unique number known as an IP address. The current model, IPv4, has approximately 4 billion of these unique addresses however with the boom in Internet enabled devices (tablets, phones, TVs, fridges etc) there are very few IPv4 addresses remaining. In other words, the Internet is running out of space! The new model, IPv6, can handle 340 undecillion addresses (that’s 340 trillion trillion trillion or 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) which gives the Internet a _lot_ more room to grow.
The expansion is made possible by the different structure of an IPv6 address, however networks and devices need to be updated in order to understand and communicate with them. Below is an example of how each IP address appears:
IPv4 126.96.36.199 (32 bits long)
IPv6 2001:db8::1234:ace:6006:1e (128 bits long)
What will IPv6 mean to me?
If you don’t deal with Information Technology then you will happily have very little to do with the move to IPv6. It is up to us (and your other IT support providers) to manage the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 without affecting your use of Internet applications.
The transition has already begun and we provide native IPv6 for our colocation and VPS customers* over one of our fibre pathways and IPv6 via tunnelling for an alternate pathway. For our web hosting customers we have begun testing our web server cluster in a ‘dual-stack’ configuration, meaning it will be able to respond to requests over IPv4 and IPv6. We will provide updates on our Twitter feed when this feature has been fully tested and activated.
Once all global networks have completed the switch IPv4 will no longer be required and will be phased out, although this may take a few decades. If you would like to test your IPv6 connectivity please visit http://test-ipv6.com.
*If you are a colocation or VPS customer and would like to enable your IPv6 address please contact us.