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From IPv4 to IPv6

The massive increase in some internet users has been attributed to the fact that the internet is capable of providing lots of services to the users. Such services include the e-commerce platform, multimedia and file storage, online payment, and even mobile applications. Currently, the users have still stuck with the IPv4, an addressing scheme that seems to become useless shortly as the migration to IPv6 gets connected to unlimited merits. The major purpose of the protocols is to provide addresses to network devices and to accommodate for more devices that may need to get included (Huitema, 1997). With the IPv4, the limitations that exist are that the addressing space is very limited. IPv4 has 223 bits which sum up to over four billion addresses, while the IPv6 has an unlimited number of addresses. An example of IPv4 is 1992.168.160.1. On the other hand, the IPv6 address looks like this: Just like the IPv4, in IPv6 supports zero addresses as well as the loopback addresses. However, the differences are that the IPv6 addresses are so long, such that the addressing scheme can support an unlimited number of addresses.

There are several advantages associated with the IPv6 that makes the addressing scheme superior to the IPv4 protocol. First and foremost, due to the large address space provided by the IPv6, security of the entire network is highly improved. The IPv4 networks are prone to attacks because attackers can scan the networks and analyze the addresses. Scanning an IPv4 network takes minimal time and therefore the attackers can easily identify where the packet is transmitted or even the location of the host device (York, 2011). Scanning and analyzing an IPv6 network takes efforts, and before the attacker finds the node that contains a specific address, he/she will automatically take years. Besides, the attacker may not find the host with the address since it may be unusable. The security in IPv6 is also enhanced because it ensures authenticity and privacy of data transmitted over the network, such that attackers cannot easily gain access to data even after scanning and finding the interface of the communicating devices.

Another advantage that IPv6 promises is the minimization of tasks performed by the network administrators, for example, node configuration and troubleshooting network failure. IPv6 provides a feature of automatic addressing and numbering, and therefore the administrators need not spend their precious time on that because the configuration gets automatically achieved, so fast the IPv6 nodes gets connected to each other (Loshin, 2003). Additionally, the IPv6 router can easily find its address by utilizing the Datalink layer arguments. Finally, The IPv6 has been praised for being more efficient in improving the overall network performance. In IPv4, the routers usually take time in processing the traffic because of their variable header packets, unlike IPv6 whose header packets are static. Therefore, in IPV4, all the packets will need to get processed by the router before being released to the other node unlike in IPv6 addressing where the router does not need to process each packet’s header information. Therefore, the time taken for communication to get completed among the end devices is greatly reduces in IPv6 (Hagen, 2014).

One of the fastest growing areas in IPv6 addressing scheme is in the use of mobile devices. In mobile devices, users can change networks and access the roaming notifications regardless of where they are. Still up to now, I don’t feel that the migration has impacted me to IPv6 (Graziani, 2013). One of the reasons is that the internet speed is still the same. Also, as a computer user, most of the changes in technology happen without my knowledge because I am concerned about the functionalities provided by the system rather than the internal details of the system. However, some features associated with IPv6 such as automatic network device configuration is easy to determine, which I have noted in mobile devices when registering networks.

As from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s assessment of the cost that would get accrued by the stakeholders of the IPv6 addressing space, Most of the migration costs have been borne. Because most of the end user’s devices, if not all, have the IPv6 capability of transmitting messages this means that most vendors have played their part in contributing to the migration cost. According to the RTI’s cost approximates, the end-users pay the greatest share (about ninety-two percent), the ISP are accrued with eight percent while the vendors contribute a negligible percentage (of about 0.5%) (Hagen, 2014).

The NIST’s estimates can be seen as fair even when because the cost breakdown and the timeline are well estimated. NIST estimated that the cost would be completed by the year 2025, and from my estimation and analysis, so many improvements have occurred in the field of technology and networking. In more users share the cost, then it will easily be completed. The best thing about NIST is that they made it in such a way that stakeholders would not easily know that they pay for the cost. According to the estimates, the following graph can be obtained.

IPv6 is worth the effort because it gets associated with benefits that are incomparable to the previous IPv4 standard. The work done in the development of the protocol is great and seems to require great appreciation. Also comparing the overall benefits to the cost, the benefits are many. The protocol assures users of security of networks, more addresses, and many more features.


Huitema, C. (1997). IPv6–the new internet protocol. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall PTR. Retrieved from

Graziani, R. (2013). IPv6 fundamentals: A straightforward approach to understanding IPv6. Indianapolis, IN: Cisco Press. Retrieved from

Hagen, S. (2014). IPv6 essentials. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media. Retrieved from

Loshin, P. (2003). IPv6: Theory, Protocol, and Practice, 2nd Edition. Burlington: Elsevier. Retrieved from

York, D. (2011). Migrating Applications to IPv6. Retrieved from

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