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IPv6 and the Future of IP Addresses

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For several years now, the limited availability of IP addresses has been the cause of much debate and consideration for the wider IT Support community. Quite simply, the world is running out of IPv4 addresses – the standard for internet addressing – as more and more devices are used online.

As a result of this, IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) was introduced to gradually replace IPv4. Although IPv4 will continue to work for several years to come, businesses should certainly consider the move to IPv6. Proactively planning for life after IPv4 will ensure that they are organised and ready for Internet use in the years to come.

The key driver behind the move to IPv6 is that IP addresses as we know them have nearly all been used up. The new method of addressing will offer a huge amount of addresses for future Internet use and will ensure that new IP addresses are available once the IPv4 addresses are used up.

So what are the considerations for small and medium-sized businesses?

  • Routers and firewalls. Are your’s IPv6 compatible? If not, an increasing amount of websites will be unavailable should IPv4 addresses completely run out.
  • ISPs and Cloud Service Providers. Are yours IPv6 ready?
  • Benefits of IPv6 over IPv4 – should you switch anyway? IPv6 means that individual devices have their own address – this simplifies data transmission and frees up router resources so that they can move data as opposed to checking packet integrity. In addition, the fact that IPv6 encrypts traffic and provides VPN-like protection for internet traffic makes it more secure.

Right now there is no need to panic, IPv4 will be used for some years to come. However, the adoption of IPv6 is accelerating rapidly as this graph demonstrates (albeit for the US), making it something which certainly need to be factored in to your future plans.

To discuss how IPv6 may affect your business in the future, feel free to contact us on 01732 762675 or email sales@akita.co.uk.