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If you haven’t heard of IPv6, I don’t blame you. However, the launch of IPv6 today was huge news for the telecommunications industry and the internet in general. But what exactly is IPv6? And how will this affect me, the average internet user?
Today, the internet serves approximately 2.5 billion people and can be found on about 11 billion devices around the world. When the framework for the internet was first constructed back in 1983, nobody could have imagined that they would need more than the 4.3 billion IP addresses allotted under that framework.
However, that’s where we stand today: with internet users approaching the 4.3 billion address limit, a change needed to be made. Thus, IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) was launched, which increases the number of available addresses to “about 340 trillion, trillion, trillion”, according to Google.
While Google was one of the first tech companies to jump on board (they’ve been using IPv6 for a little while now), not all tech companies have been so eager to adopt IPv6. While many major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) jumped on board the IPv6 bandwagon today, others haven’t embraced the standard yet.
However, since the upgrade itself is relatively simple (it involves a few basic server firmware upgrades), it’s expected that every ISP in the world will adopt IPv6 over the next few years.
How does IPv6 affect you?
The average internet user won’t notice the changes in IPv6. However, IPv6 is slightly more secure at the network level, which should help limit server-wide viruses and other issues.
Assigning addresses is also slightly easier in IPv6, but that will have more of an effect on ISPs than the average consumer. Hopefully, it will help them cut costs and they can transfer those savings to consumers (fat chance).
Nonetheless, for the average user, “there is no benefit yet.”
As a neat feature for its users, Google has set up an IPv6 test. Check it out. Looks like my ISP hasn’t made the switch yet. Has yours? Let us know in the comments!