One thing about software and the internet is that it keeps changing rapidly, so we’re constantly playing catch up. For instance, IPv4 IP address exhaustion has recently been an important topic of concern. Is it cause for concern?
What is IPv4 Exhaustion?
First introduced in 1983, IPv4 is an IP address version that uses a 32-bit scheme to identify devices on the internet. It currently carries 94% of the internet traffic.
IPv4 exhaustion means we’re running out of IPv4 addresses. In fact, top-level IPv4 addresses ran out more than 10 years ago. The exhaustion is simply a matter of numbers. The original pool of IPv4 addresses was designed to number 4.3 billion addresses at the most. Now that internet growth has exploded, with households having more than five devices connected to the internet, it’s no wonder the IPv4 addresses have run out.
The place of IPv6
IPv6 is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol. It was introduced to fulfill the need for more IP addresses. It uses a 128-bit scheme to identify devices, and like any software update, it aims to resolve any issues in IPv4.
Talks of IPv6 started more than 20 years ago, but it remains a trending IT topic. The structure of IPv6 allows it to house 2128 addresses (340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 unique IP addresses). We can expect it to meet the global need for IP addresses for the foreseeable future.
IoT is one of the many factors accelerating the transition from IPv4 to IPv6. Most hosts and servers have upgraded from IPv4 to IPv6, but they continue to route IPv4 addresses, a phenomenon known as dual stacking.
Impact of switching to IPv6
Should we expect performance benefits from switching to IPv6? We can expect faster speed, greater simplicity, and a more resilient and secure connection. IPv6 offers better autoconfiguration, which solves address conflict issues that usually arise when there’s network integration and readdressing.
Steps to check if you’re on IPv4 or IPv6
Most Internet Service Providers currently supply IPv4, but some ISPs have started providing IPv6 as well. You can check your device’s IP version by following these steps:
- Open the Windows Start menu and search for ncpa.cpL in the search field.
- Press Enter to open the Network Connections window
- Right-click on the connection you want to check, and select Properties
- Find “This connection uses the following items” in the networking tab. Confirm that the box next to Internet Protocol Version 6 is checked.
- Click on the Apple logo to open System Preferences
- Select Network
- Select your adapter on the left-side column, and click on Advanced
- Click on TCP/IP in the new window
- Click on Configure IPv6 in the pop-up menu and check if Automatic is selected.
- Open your device system settings and tap on Network & Internet
- Click on Mobile Network
- Tap on Advanced
- Open Access Point Names
- Select the APN you’re currently using
- Click on APN control
- Click on IPv6
- Save changes
Looking to Switch to IPv6?
Contact us to meet with one of our IT professionals to learn more about the switch from IPv4 to IPv6 and more IT topics.