End of IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) address

Internet has reached a turning point in its history and has depleted the pool of addresses available under Internet Protocol version 4, or IPv4. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, operated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), meted out the last IPv4 addresses to Regional Internet Registries (RIR) recently.

Going forward, new addresses will be deployed under the next-generation Internet protocol, IPv6 (next-generation Internet layer protocol that was designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to solve the problem of IP address depletion under the current Internet layer protocol, IPv4. John Curran, the chairman of the board of trustees at the American Registry for Internet Numbers, said the Internet will run out of IPv4 addresses if they continue to be used at their current pace). It makes available a pool of Internet addresses that is a billion-trillion times larger than the total pool of IPv4 addresses, which numbers about 4.3 billion.

Few Blips

Everyday users of the Internet will not notice much difference as the transition proceeds. Some technology users, though, may experience some glitches, such as people using

VPN software to connect with their offices or users of point-to-point software such as Skype. Some devices might have difficulty connecting to the Internet as well. Other applications that may run into trouble are video streaming, voice streaming, online gaming applications like that. On the other hand, “simple Web browsing and email are the applications that will be least impacted by this change.”

Network Address Translation

Some glitches are expected. The technology involved will include additional layers of network address translation until the entire Internet has been shifted to IPv6 a process that could conceivably take as long as 10 years. This technology will allow a single user to share the same address with a group of other users.

There will be increased latency times in some cases more delays on the networks. The changeover will also throw a wrench in certain industries’ practices of using unique Internet addresses. Law enforcement is one example. There are definite security implications with this transition.

Another industry that will be affected is online advertising, which has turned into a high art the targeting of consumers via their IP addresses. A company will not be able to track the habits of one computer any more. It may find itself following the online patterns of an entire neighborhood.

Where do we go from here?

As the pool of IPv4 addresses nears exhaustion, I think we can expect to see many service providers look at implementing very large-scale NAT to continue to use IPv4 as long as humanly possible. This will “work” to a degree, but it will create a mess of a network and may certainly lead to challenges with applications and services being able to reach all the endpoints out there. The real answer lies in moving to IPv6, the new addressing scheme that provides an enormously larger IP address space. The challenge is that companies and ISPs need to invest in the equipment for an IPv6 infrastructure and they need to check that their applications work with IPv6, etc., etc. It’s not a simple process. But here we are… the last allocations of IP4 addresses are beginning…

Here we will discuss difference between IPv4 and IPv6.

IPv4 IPv6
Addresses are 32 bits or 4 bytes in length. Addresses are 128 bits or 16 bytes in length
Address (A) resource records in DNS to map host names to IPv4 addresses. Address (AAAA) resource records in DNS to map host names to IPv6 addresses.
Pointer (PTR) resource records in the IN-ADDR.ARPA DNS domain to map IPv4 addresses to host names. Pointer (PTR) resource records in the IP6.ARPA DNS domain to map IPv6 addresses to host names.
IPSec is optional and should be supported externally IPSec support is not optional
Header does not identify packet flow for QoS handling by routers Header contains Flow Label field, which Identifies packet flow for QoS handling by router.
Both routers and the sending host fragment packets. Routers do not support packet fragmentation. Sending host fragments packets
Header includes a checksum. Header does not include a checksum.
Header includes options. Optional data is supported as extension headers.
ARP uses broadcast ARP request to resolve IP to MAC/Hardware address. Multicast Neighbor Solicitation messages resolve IP addresses to MAC addresses.
Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) manages membership in local subnet groups. Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) messages manage membership in local subnet groups.
Broadcast addresses are used to send traffic to all nodes on a subnet. IPv6 uses a link-local scope all-nodes multicast address.
Configured either manually or through DHCP. Does not require manual configuration or DHCP.
Must support a 576-byte packet size (possibly fragmented). Must support a 1280-byte packet size (without fragmentation).

Written by Shilpa Dubey

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