Internet Protocol version 6


The Internet Protocol (IP) has made it possible for millions of computers to be connected and has accelerated the Information Age rapidly toward the next century. With the prolific growth of computer network applications, however, the current version of IP, IPv4, is steadily becoming inadequate in meeting the needs of connecting not just millions, but billions of people throughout the world.

The next generation of IP, IPv6, is becoming a reality. IPv6 will greatly expand the addressing scheme to allow for billions of billions more connections than IPv4 can and will provide for authentication and privacy of transmissions, plus contain other enhancements — all of which mean that truly global interconnection can happen.

A great deal of research and testing of IPv6 is underway. This booklet describes the need for the next generation protocol, helps demystify the changes taking place, and offers tips for making the transition to the new version when ready.

You should have some networking experience and a basic understanding of TCP/IP concepts. For more information, you can refer to TCP/IP Defined, another booklet available from Process Software. There is also a list of other resources at the end of this booklet and a glossary of Internet terms.

The information about IPv6 is organized as follows:

  • The Introduction describes recent Internet events that have led to developing IPv6.
  • Chapters 1 and 2 are quick and brief overviews of the Internet Protocol and IPv4.
  • Chapter 3 explains the new IPv6 and how the differences between IPv4 and IPv6 will benefit users.
  • Chapter 4 explains how the task force is planning the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.
  • Chapter 5 lists sources for more information about IPv6.


Table of Contents


1. Overview of the Internet Protocol

2. IPv4 Limitations and Constraints
3. IPv6 Development and Features
4. Making the Transition to IPv6
5. More Information About IPv6