IPv6 Seeks to Accommodate Rapid Increase in Internet Users and Devices

IPv6 pic Afghan Wireless recently introduced improved mobile connectivity for its subscribers in Kabul, implementing 3.75G+ mobile broadband service throughout the city. Additionally, the firm paired its 3.75G+ deployment with a network-wide upgrade to Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6).

To send and receive information over the Internet, all computers and mobile devices must have an Internet Protocol, or IP address. Under Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4), every IP address comprised 32 bits, which allowed for 4.3 billion unique IP addresses and enabled 4.3 billion individual devices to connect to the Internet. Initially released in June 2012 as an update to IPv4, IPv6 is the newest generation of IP developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). IPv6 also represents a significant expansion to the Internet’s address directory.

According to Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist, the number of mobile devices in the world had already surpassed the number of available IPv4 addresses at the time of the upgrade to IPv6.

Additionally, research from Ericsson indicates that the growth in mobile devices is outpacing that of the general population. In 2012, the communications technology company predicted that the number of mobile device subscriptions would exceed the world’s population within five years.

The IETF developed IPv6 in response to the rapidly increasing number of Internet users and devices. IPv6 presents a new method of assigning addresses, using 128 bits rather than 32 bits, and allowing for approximately 340 trillion, trillion, trillion IP addresses.

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