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The Case for IPv6 in an IPv4 World: The Manager’s View


The Internet is running out of network addresses, which will force the switch from IPv4 to IPv6. But IPv6 has other advantages as well, such as improving network performance and making network administrators more productive (and cheerful).

It isn’t a pretty thought to consider migrating an enterprise to a new Internet addressing scheme. Any change to the network can be time consuming and expensive to deploy. But in addition to the technical forces making the move a necessity there are good technical reasons for making the switch.

What are the differences between IPv6 and IPv4? Well, for starters, there’s a gigantic difference between the 4.3 billion unique addresses you get with IPv4’s 32-bit addressing, and IPv6’s 128 bits worth of address: 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456. That’s 2 to the 128th power. IPv6 addresses are composed of eight groups of four hexadecimal numbers. So, for example, 2010:0625:0000:0000:0000:0000:0433:56cf would be a legal, albeit eye-watering address.

With that many addresses, we won’t need to worry about running out of network addresses unless we give cats and dogs Internet-enabled devices.

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