Welcome to the world of New Internet. Yes, the Internet changes with the ‘World IPv6 Launch Day’ today. To put it in layman words when you connect to the internet from a computer, iPad, Tablet or a mobile phone, your device is assigned an IP address. And the addresses used today confirm to IPv4 which is about 27 years old and has many limitations. Now the traditional communication networks are undergoing a big change and upgrading to IPv6.
So starting 0000 UTC approximately 5:30 am (IST), all ISPs permanently enabled IPv6 across a significant portion of their current and all new residential wireline subscribers. Home networking equipment manufacturers will enable IPv6 by default through their range of home router products.
“Going forward, Internet users will be forced to pass through transitional gateways to reach websites who do not adopt to IPv6, making their web browsing experience slower and tedious. On the other hand websites who have upgraded to IPv6 will provide great browsing experience without any slowdown or lag time. Thus, Internet users globally will not notice any significant difference in their daily lives”. [John Curran, president and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, source]
Why the need for IPv6?
IPv4 has approximately four billion IP addresses (the sequence of numbers assigned to each Internet-connected device). The explosion in the number of people, devices, and web services on the Internet means that IPv4 is running out of space. In fact they are already exhausted as of February 2011 and by 2013 when it is estimated that all addresses will be used up, people would have to share the same IP addresses that would lead to crash, slow down and no connectivity. Thus, the need for IPv6. The next-generation Internet protocol and an overhaul of the existing system provides more than 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses, that will connect the billions of people not connected today and will help ensure the Internet can continue its current growth rate indefinitely.
IPv6 improves on the addressing capacities of IPv4 by using 128 bits addressing instead of 32 bits, practically making available an almost infinite pool of IP addresses. It has been designed with enhanced features which make it possible to develop applications which are not possible in the IPv4 protocol, supports end-to-end security; auto-configuration simplifies network configuration and IP Host Mobility etc.
Infact Google collects statistics about IPv6 adoption in the Internet on an ongoing basis to help Internet providers, website owners, and policy makers as the industry rolls out IPv6.
IPv6: Indian Scenario
The major service providers in India are ready to offer IPv6 services but there are bottlenecks in migrating the complete ecosystem to IPv6. The service providers have mainly three challenges i.e. readiness of the content providers, equipment vendors and end user devices. To tackle the above challenges, a lead has been taken by DoT and the respective stakeholders are being pursued to adopt to IPv6.
The other issue is compatibility. At present there are 35 million IPv4 addresses against a user base of about 360 million data users in India. In addition the Government is planning to have a target of 160 million and 600 million broadband customers by the year 2017 and 2020 respectively. But since IPv6 is not backward compatible with IPv4, the transition to IPv6 is likely to be a complex, mammoth and long term exercise during which both IPv4 and IPv6 will co-exist.
IPv6 adoption in India Vs other countries
Even though other countries have not adopted IPv6, India falls very low in the list. The maximum adoptation seems to come from France where IPv6 adoptation is about 4.74 per cent (India stands at 0.04 per cent).
Are you on IPv6?
The discussion about IPv6 is not something that can be finished in a single article There are many aspects to it like implementation scenarios, benefits, how-to’s etc and we intent to cover them in a separate discussion. For now, if you want to know your system’s IPv6 compatibility, click here to find out more about it.
Watch this intro video
And the impact..