Also known as the Next Generation Internet Protocol or Ipng, IPv6 comes with solutions to the problems faced by previous and current Internet Protocol versions. It was introduced in 1998. Internet Protocol is part of the Transmission Transfer Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite and is used for packet switching over the internet. It defines the methods for addressing and encapsulation of data packets transmitted over the internet. IP has evolved over the years, with IPv4 being the first known stable version. IPv6 was introduced to gradually replace IPv6.

The major motivation fro the introduction of IPv6 is the near exhaustion of IPv4 addresses. With the increasing need for computer networks and IP addresses for that matter, it became evident that, with time, there will be no more IP addresses available for use on networks. A measures like the classless networks were introduced to deal with the problem, but is seen not to be effective. That necessitated the introduction of IPv6. IPv6 uses a 128-bit addressing scheme as opposed to the 32-bit addressing scheme in IPv6, and allocates about 3.4 X 1034 addresses.

The implementation of IPv6 simplifies addressing when changing the internet service provider. It uses stateless address autoconfiguration with network renumbering or prefix and router announcements. An IPv6 address has a fixed host identification portion, which automates the formation of the host identifier. An IPv6 compliant device will automatically configure itself when first connected to a network. The host device sends a link-local multicast router solicitation request message with its configuration specifications. Routers will respond to a correct specification, sending network-layer configuration parameters included in a router advertisement.

IPv6 also implements the ability for a host to send a single message to more than one destinations at a time. It does not implement the broadcast mode and therefore has nothing like a broadcast address, but rather, everything is seen as a normal address. Multicast messages can be sent on a single subnet, but not possible on all available subnets on the network. IPv6 supports newly developed multicast solutions which allows it to operate across various domains.

IPv6 also implements a number of network security features that are absent in previous IP versions. The IP security implementation being used now was originally developed for IPv6 architecture. IP authentication and encryption is integrated into IPv6's architecture

IPV6 also technology provides software implementations that allow a host to run both IPv4 and IPv6. These are called dual stack implementations and can be run together or independent of each other. The dual-stack allows for developing network implementation code that operate both on IPv4 as well ans IPv6 platforms. The implementation makes use of IPv6 syntax and represents IPv4 in IPv6 format, known as the mapped address. IPv6 also makes use of tunneling to route IPv6 packets over IPv4 infrastructure. The packets are encapsulated in IPv4 data packets and then transmitted. The implementation of tunneling could be automatic or configured manually. IPv6 also allows for the use of dual-stack proxies.

IPv6 is definitely the way forward for in Internet. When purchasing new networking equipment, make sure to get IPv6 compatibility ones.

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