During its conceptualization, researches developed the internet to be a link amongst a close knit community with limited access. It wasn’t until the 90s, when personal computers started to capture the market defying public expectations, that we truly began to grasp its full extent. Device addresses which were deemed to have more than enough number of bits were soon found to be lacking. In fact as of today, there are no new IPv4 addresses to be given out.
Thus, it became imperative to come up with a newer version of internet protocols. IPv6 or Internet Protocol Version 6 was created to tackle this issue.
What is IPv6?
IP or Internet Protocol is the fixed set of rules by which network devices communicate with the internet. To do this, a logical address is assigned to each device by which the device may be identified. ISPs provide these addresses who in turn are assigned the numbers by IANA.
However the 32 bit version of IPv4 is no longer satisfactory. We have officially run out of address space. IPv6 thus uses 128 bits address space in order to keep up with ever increasing demands. While both versions are currently in use, statistics indicate that the world is slowly making the move to IPv6.
Although around for more than two decades, IPv6 integration has been slow going. According to Google statistics, only 16% of the world has transitioned to the newer version. However, even this is a step up with 6% increase from the previous year’s statistics. Before that, integration had increased by 2.5% every year since 2011.
IPv6 adoption has by no means been uniform. Google maintains a comprehensive dataset that analyses its deployment across the globe. The report has shown vast inequality from country to country when it comes to adoption of IP version 6. In general, adoption has seen far better results in Europe than in Asian countries. Belgium leads with a whopping 48.88% IPv6 deployment, nearly double that USA and Germany which occupy second and third positions with almost 30% and 29% deployment respectively. Belgium’s rate is more than thrice the global average. As of July 2016, the country had 59% penetration rate.
On the other end of the spectrum, Russia trails in at a mere one 1%, much lower than any of its neighbours. ER-Telecom offers users connectivity to IPv6 via PPPoE Dual-Stack and DHCPv6 Prefix Delegation. With much of the country still using IPv4, the country shows some dismal statistics.
Why this delay in adoption?
While IPv6 has several benefits, most network devices and softwares are not equipped to work in this new set of protocols. Thus, in order to incorporate v6 into their daily life, users must spend a considerable amount of time and money to replace existing devices. This is even more expensive for corporations. Google statistics show that about 10% users use version 6 protocols during weekends, but that number drops to 8 on weekdays, indicating that corporate firms have been slower on the change.
The move to IP version 6 is inevitable. There are simply no address spaces to assign. Users looking to reserve address blocks can now only do so in the newer protocol set. Where version 4 could only support 4.3 million spaces, IPv6 can assign trillions. Thus the days of slicing existing IPs to carve out a small space for other connections will soon be over. And once the entire world finally migrates to the new protocols, computers all over the world can enjoy the benefits.