IPv6 address: The future or already the present?

When it’s about technology development, time passes with light speed! Based on the advances a device or protocol can achieve from a previous version to the newest, a year or two can seem like an old past. 

But there’s another side in this story, “adoption”. Yes, different factors can intervene for technology’s quick or slow adoption.

This is the story of the IPv6 address, a useful and advanced technology you should know!

What is an IPv6 address?

The IPv6 address is the newest Internet protocol (IP) version. The IP (all its versions) is a rule set for devices to exchange data and be identified properly to establish this communication.

Yes, each device that connects to the Internet gets identified via its unique IP address. Besides, its location can be tracked, and the most convenient route to reach its destination can be determined. Then, communication can be established.

Why was the IPv6 address created?

IPv6 was created by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to solve the already known problem of IPv4 addressing exhaustion.

Believe it or not, there was a time when the IP connected only a few computers across the U.S.A (the 1970s). The list of connected computers could even be remembered. IP developers, of course, thought about the future, but the future from that point looked like it could be covered with four bytes (32 bits) long addresses (example, Meaning, 4.3 billion computers could be connected.

But the growth of the Internet was really massive. Already in the 1980s, the own IETF realized, based on this growth pace, that a new IP would be needed. So, developers focused on extending the life of the IPv4 as much as possible and on the design of its successor. Finally, in 1998, the proposal of the IPv6 became an IETF’s draft standard. 

And yes, IPv6 was the solution for the IPv4 shortage. It has 16 bytes (128 bits) in length, meaning it supports exactly 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IP addresses. 1,028 times more than the number of addresses provided by the IPv4!

IPv6 address: The future or already the present?

No matter its advances, and that it has already been a bit more than two decades waiting to dominate the scene, some factors have delayed its moment.

Originally, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 involved investment that not everybody could or wanted to make. Networks include many different switches and routers. To replace this technology had a high cost. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) preferred to be efficient to the maximum, administering their IPv4 pools. 

There was no compatibility between IPv4 and IPv6. Considering that millions of devices were already using IPv4, many people decided to keep IPv4 and wait for devices slowly to be changed and compatibility to be possible.

Before IPv6 was ready, developers tried their best to make IPv4 life longer. Different strategies were born following this purpose, like NAT (Network Address Translation). It became a really popular solution, easy to deploy, and low cost. To get stuck to such easier and cheaper solutions or to transit to the new technology? Many chose the first choice.

In some cases, just the habit of working with IPv4 stopped the migration to the new version. The birth of IPv6 didn’t mean companies could not operate anymore with the previous version.


IPv6 had been present a long time ago, and for sure is the future. Smartphones, IoT devices, tablets, laptops, etc., get multiplied like mushrooms, and they all demand Internet connection every day. The transition is inevitable. The future will be handled through IPv6!

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