Monday, October 5, 2009

IPv6: Advantages and Disadvantages

Internet Protocol version 6 was created by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in 1998 to replaced the currently-used IPv4. Its specification, RFC 2460, is freely available at Attempts at a worldwide changeover have been going on for a decade. Advantages and disadvantages of a changeover are listed below. Please add comments based on your experience with IPv6 or the changeover.

Advantages of IPv6:
  • Exponentially more addresses available - 3.4 x 10 38 addresses available as opposed to about 4 billion in IPv4
  • Security better integrated in packets
  • More support for wireless features
  • Simplifications to packet header to increase processing speed and ease
  • Provides support for especially large packets
Disadvantages of IPv6:
  • Addresses are much more complicated - 8 groups of 4 hexadecimal digits rather than 4 numbers from 0 to 255
  • Huge cost to consumers and institutions to replace all networking equipment
  • Some difficulty when IPv4 and IPv6 interact
  • Slow adoption by countries using most of the IPv4 addresses
  • Little support for IPv6 at a consumer level