IPv6 is the successor to Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4). It was designed as an evolutionary upgrade to the Internet Protocol and will, in fact, coexist with the older IPv4 for some time. IPv6 is designed to allow the Internet to grow steadily, both in terms of the number of hosts connected and the total amount of data traffic transmitted.
IPv6 is often referred to as the "next generation" Internet standard and has been under development now since the mid-1990s. IPv6 was born out of concern that the demand for IP addresses would exceed the available supply.
The Benefits of IPv6
While increasing the pool of addresses is one of the most often-talked about benefit of IPv6, there are other important technological changes in IPv6 that will improve the IP protocol:
• No more NAT (Network Address Translation)
• No more private address collisions
• Better multicast routing
• Simpler header format
• Simplified, more efficient routing
• True quality of service (QoS), also called "flow labeling"
• Built-in authentication and privacy support
• Flexible options and extensions
• Easier administration (say good-bye to DHCP)