Each machine on the net is given a 32-bit address. With 32 bits, a maximum of about four billion addresses is possible. Though this is a large a number, soon the Internet will have TV sets, and even pizza machines connected to it, and since each of them must have an IP address, this number becomes too small. The revision of IPv4 was taken up mainly to resolve the address problem, but in the course of refinements, several other features were also added to make it suitable for the next generation Internet. This version was initially named IPng (IP next generation) and is now officially known as IPv6. IPv6 supports 128-bit addresses, the source address and the destination address, each being, 128 bits long. IPv5 a minor variation of IPv4 is presently running on some routers
Presently, most routers run software that support only IPv4. To switch over to IPv6 overnight is an impossible task and the transition is likely to take a very long time. However to speed up the transition, an IPv4 compatible IPv6 addressing scheme has been worked out. Major vendors are now writing softwares for various computing environments to support IPv6 functionality. Incidentally, software development for different operating systems and router platforms will offer major jobs opportunities in coming years
IPv6 is sometimes also called the Next Generation Internet Protocol or IPng. IPv6 was recommended by the IPng Area Directors of the Internet Engineering Task Force at the Toronto IETF meeting on July 25, 1994 in RFC 1752, The Recommendation for the IP Next Generation Protocol. The recommendation was approved by the Internet Engineering Steering Group and made a Proposed Standard on November 17,1994. The core set of IPv6 protocols were made an IETF Draft Standard on August 10, 1998.
Internet Protocol Version 6 is abbreviated to IPv6 (where the "6" refers to it being assigned version number 6). The previous version of the Internet Protocol is version 4
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