Coming Soon: Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)

The internet, as originally conceived and constructed, was built around a protocol known as Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4).  This system allows the American Registry for Internet Numbers to assign numerical addresses to each computer server providing information to users of the world wide web.  Contrary to common understanding, when users type in an address such as the one for Google, the computer contacts a domain name server to resolve the alphabetic address into a numerical one.  This system has worked fairly well for many years, but is now in danger of running up against a logical limit: the sheer quantity of numbers available.

The problem is so acute that experts estimate that the North American wing of the internet will actually run out of new numbers within about a year.  Should that happen, new servers could not be brought online because there would be no addresses available.

A solution in the form of IPv6 has been proposed.  This ‘next generation’ of internet protocols will provide for many more addresses than was possible in the IPv4 system, but it will also bring with it some interesting tech challenges for businesses to confront.  Thankfully, the ready advice of IT consultants from firms such as iCorps will help businesses and other organizations to be able to meet those challenges without major disruption to workflow, but the sooner relevant IT solutions are in place, the better. 

In general, those solutions will be based in software, not hardware.  Among the concerns that companies need to address during a transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is the way in which users access their website and other web-based services.  New users may already be up and running with the most recent protocol even as existing users continue to rely on IPv4 addresses.  This means that organizations will need to acquire IPv6 addresses and have their ‘public-facing’ equipment, hardware that is outside their firewall protection, able to respond to requests from either protocol system. 

An IT company skilled in setting up online systems will prove invaluable to companies trying to navigate the new IPv6 landscape while retaining all of the business and clients they built up during their years running IPv4 alone.  Companies, however, will be glad to know that IPv6 does have more security automatically built into it from the start, though robust internet security services will still be necessary for any business with assets stored online.

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