Global network development is very active and will soon not be possible without the expansion of the address space. This process involves a gradual transition from IPv4 to IPv6. Today, we'll tell you what the problem is and how to prepare for it for ordinary users.
Address example: FEDC:BA98:7654:3210:FEDC:BA98:7654:3210.
Non-significant zeros or null blocks are omitted. A colon is put in the place of the missing number. For example, 1024:0:0:0:75:332:208B:717A could be written as 1024::75:332:208B:717A. Numbers separated by a colon are called octets.
An IPv6 address can be divided into three constituent parts:
- global prefix (1st to 3rd blocks);
- subnet identifier (4th block);
- interface identifier (blocks 5 to 8).
Moving away from IPv4
IPv6 is replacing IPv4 not just because it's being updated but because IPv4 addresses are exhausted. In 2011, the last 16 million available IPv4 addresses were distributed to regional Internet registries. Thus, the global pool of available IPv4 addresses became zero. This is not surprising; today, there is more than one device in every home that regularly connects to the global network. Each of these devices must have its own IP address. Some providers have already run out of available IP addresses, others are running out of them (Maxnet is not on this list, as the growth of network devices was foreseen in advance).
Today, the problem of address shortage is solved by the NAT networking mechanism. It involves replacing internal addresses behind the mapping device with external addresses for further routing of packets. In this way, an entire group of devices has only one external IP address. With IPv6, these conversions will be unnecessary, and people will be provided with addresses for hundreds of thousands of years to come.
Differences between IPv6 and IPv4
IPv6 addresses have a more complex hierarchical structure. The number of addresses that IPv4 is capable of generating is 4,2*109, for IPv6 this figure is 7,9*1028. Except for address space length, there are other differences between protocols:
- addressing methods (IPv4 uses numeric, IPv6 uses alphanumeric;
- widespread use in IPv6 of multicast routing (multicast), which replaces familiar in IPv4 broadcast;
- definition of MAC addresses (IPv4 uses ARP, while IPv6 uses NDP);
- address usage (in IPv4 these are unique public and private addresses for traffic, in IPv6 these are globally unique and local addresses.
These are what make IPv6 more advanced.
However, IPv6 also has disadvantages:
- the upgrade is expensive for providers because it involves the purchase of new equipment and its configuration;
- there is no backward compatibility with IPv4, which means that both protocols must be supported during the transition period, resulting in reduced security due to increased attack surface area.
Testing and implementation
The new version of the protocol offers a number of advantages that make the connection faster and safer. Therefore preparations for its implementation are already underway.
On June 8, 2011, World IPv6 Day was held, during which the overall readiness for transition to new addresses was tested. On this day, participants provided access to their sites using both IPv4 and IPv6. The test was deemed successful and a year later the worldwide launch of IPv6 took place. The new protocol was used by 1% of users and at the beginning of 2023, according to Google, this figure exceeded 40% of users.
The transition to the new technology is currently not entirely possible, as a large percentage of ordinary users' network equipment doesn’t support IPv6, even though all modern equipment has this capability. Governments in Europe and America are already addressing the issue of upgrading their networks to implement the new address space as soon as possible. It is assumed that until all devices can support IPv6, the protocols will work simultaneously.
IPv6 connectivity on the Maxnet network
Ordinary users don’t need to fear change, especially if they are using modern equipment. An IPv6 connection is available for Maxnet subscribers with Ethernet (IPoE) or PON.
To get on the Maxnet network IPv6 address and /64 prefix (a whole block of 264 addresses that a subscriber's router can distribute to all clients in the local network), you should switch on DHCPv6 + PD on the router. If your computer is switched on without a router, you don't need to configure iPV6: in Windows 10 and most Linux distributions, it is enabled by default.