How IPv6 is Going to Affect Current Network Structure and Implementation

Many online organizations and companies participated in the World IPv6 Day held on June-08-2011 and it is considered as a success by many sources. Many experts claim IPv6 is mature enough to be implemented because no major issues happened on that day as many feared. So we can expect the implementation of this standard very soon and I would like to share some of my thoughts about IPv6 implementation. Personally, I love to see it in my network but the only problem I am facing is the complicated address format. However, this small issue is nothing compared to the big advantages IPversion6 bring.

Maybe we can forget the NAT after implementing IPversion6 in our network. It is because we do not need private IP addresses any more as no more deficiency of public IP addresses. It can provide more than enough number of IP addresses. Another feature is IPversion6 hosts can autoconfigure themselves while connecting to an IPversion6 network. So it reduces the importance of DHCP. IPv6 host autoconfiguration is using Internet Control Message Protocol version 6 (ICMPv6) router discovery messages but if Pv6 stateless address autoconfiguration failed to perform its duty, DHCPv6 will be used to address the host. So, in a nutshell, we can say, IPv6 reduces the importance of NAT and DHCP.

More IP addresses

Adopting IPversion6 can fix the shortage of IP addresses currently we are facing. It uses 128-bit addresses where IPv4 is using 32-bit addresses. The maximum number of IP addresses generated by IPv6 is 340 undecillion (340 X 10^36) and the maximum number of IP addresses generated by IPv4 is only 4.3 billion. The exact number of IP addresses provided by IPv6 is 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456.

Improved Network Security and router performance

One of the major advantages of implementing IPv6 is the improved network transparency. It simply means there is no need to create a private IP address for devices to communicate over Internet and no hiding behind NAT. One major improvement in IPv6 is its added security. IPsec is an integral part of IPv6 architecture to improve network security. IPv6 header format is simple compared to that of IPv4 and it will improve the router performance.

IPv6 Controversies

Like any other movement, IPv6 movement is also not free from controversies. One controversial theorem about replacing IPv4 with IPv6 is to help National security agencies to monitor their citizens more easily. It is because right now many of the electronic devices are behind NAT and using private IP addresses. This makes the monitoring a little difficult for official agencies. It has the ability to provide a single public IP address to each device connected to the Internet. It removes one hurdle for external monitoring. Another issue is about the exposing of MAC address over the Internet as it is a part of IPversion6 address. If the unique MAC address is exposed to the Internet, it will be very easy to track that particular device. Hopefully, we can hide our MAC address by enabling Privacy addressing.

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