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Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)

Due to the remarkable uptake of Internet usage and Internet based technologies the public IP address space is getting insufficient. The current version of the Internet Protocol (IP version 4) has limited number of addresses left that will be exhausted by 2011-2012. The merge of different technologies and increasing number of connected to Internet devices need new address spaces. For countries like Bulgaria that was among the last to get IPv4 addresses share the early adoption of IPv6 will give an opportunity for faster overcome of upcoming IPv4 address crisis.
IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is a protocol standardized by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) to overcome IPv4 limits. The IPv4 protocol, widely used today, was designed in the 70s and cannot match actual requirements.
The main difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is the length of the address. IPv6 addresses are encoded on 128 bits, making it possible to have an infinite number of devices connected to the Internet. These 128 are composed of 2 different parts:
  • The first 64 bits identify the network
  • The last 64 bits are the interface indentifier
IPv6 main goal is to overcome the lack of addresses encountered nowadays. IPv6 also add other new features:
  • Hierarchical addressing: the aggregation is improved making it possible to reduce the size of the routing tables.
  • Autoconfigurations: Workstations can get an address automatically using a stateless address allocation mechanism integrated specified for IPv6.