Following my last blog on the state of IPv6, a number of my followers pinged me for more details on what exactly IPv6 is. So if you’re asking yourself “What the heck is IPv6 and why should I care?”., then let me explain….
IPv6 is the latest technology that deals with how packets are routed around the globe. The original
version was called IPv4 and everyone around the world adopted it. All routing and networking equipment
was based on that version’s capabilities. As the nature of content and number of users on the web
grew rapidly, a new version was required to better handle that content and deliver it more securely.
To the average user, it means a smoother delivery of the content and media we’ve all come to enjoy…experiencing things like YouTube and Skype should (in theory) be even better!
Here’s a rundown of some key new features that I believe will have the biggest impact:
1. Encryption and authentication are now included. We currently use IPSec and authentication as a add-on – with IPv6 they are built-in!
2. Provision for extensions in a protocol, which allows for better application support. To the end-user that means better content delivery to provide a great movie/video experience even in HD.
3. Supports quality of service (QoS) parameters for real-time audio and video, allowing companies such as YouTube and Skype to ensure the quality of content delivery in real-time. This includes the ability to adjust packet delivery to deal with L2/L3 issues that might cause jitter.
4. Expands the number of available Internet addresses (from 32 to 128 bits) allowing every device on the planet to have its own IP address. Essentially, the larger address space allows all your devices to connect directly to the Internet instead of hiding behind a NAT device. You will still require a gateway to connect to your service provider to gain access and provide security, etc.
5. Routing (moving packets) becomes more efficient as broadcast traffic is eliminated and replaced with multicast. It also includes “anycast” that provides a ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) that can be shared by more than one device that focus on delivering a particular service. So a single video session could be shared by more than one user at any given time.
Well that is the dream anyways. Test day will start to give us a good perspective of what to expect for services and applications going forward.
For more information the following sites should provide good overviews and detailed content:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv6 – Good overview of the topic
http://www.securitytube.net/video/463 – Good video overview
http://bit.ly/eYM1Ho – Cisco primer targeted physical security individuals
http://www.getipv6.info/index.php/IPv6_Presentations_and_Documents – Technical reference material