Don’t worry it won’t be imminent but it will happening over the next 18 months or so. You see the addresses that everyone uses at the moment are called IPv4 addresses (e.g 126.96.36.199) and they are running out. A new standard of addressing called IPv6 is designed to replace IPv4 in the next couple of years (estimates range from 2012 – 2016). So what exactly is IPv6 and how is it so different to IPv4?
IPv6 is a 128 bit hexadecimal addressing system (e.g fe80::154d:3cd7:b33b:1bc1) where IPv4 is only 32 bits (e.g 192.168.1.1). To put this in context if each address were a grain of sand , you could comfortably fit all the IPv4 addresses into the back of a small truck, however you would need 1.3 million Earths to fit all the IPv6 addresses in!!!
So there are more addresses anything else? IPv6 also has built -in Quality of Service (QoS). This is the ability to provide different priority to different applications, users, or data flows, or to guarantee a certain level of performance to a data flow. It also has improved security (IPSec is used by default), more efficient routing and simpler configuration.
So what does this mean to you? Basically without some tinkering Windows XP will become obselete as this does not have IPv6 support enabled by default. You would have to upgrade to Windows Vista or Windows 7 (possibly Windows 8 if it is released). Windows Vista, 7, Server 2008, nearly all Linux distributions and Mac have IPv6 support enabled by default so running any of these is fine. Chances are though that your router is not IPv6 enabled so you would have to buy a new one of these. The way your computer gets its IP address would be exactly the same. If like me you work in the IT sector you will need to become familiar with IPv6 and how to configure it.
There will be a transition period when everyone will be switching over so its not like someone will flick the switch and the internet will be turned off so don’t worry. The change is on its way.
IPv6 is coming that much is certain. Now is the time to start looking at your infrastructure and see if you are able to make the transition smoothly. This is where ComTech can help. I can advise on different setups, configure them where necessary and maintain them on a schedule dictated by you. Go to www.comtech247.net/business-it for more information.
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