Many educators and students are increasingly finding that they require familiarity with networking protocols. A basic understanding of uses, features, terminology, and configurations is essential. Because of the explosive expansion of the Internet, IPv4 is incapable of managing the demand.

IPv6 is the next proposed standard for Internet communications. Differences with the other version fall into the categories addressing, configuration, and security. Beta construction capable of IPv6 has been released.

There are methods to facilitate the transition to IPv6.


IPv6 addresses are 128 bits in length. The full quantity of addresses is unavailable due to the inadequacies of network numbering. The hierarchy of addressing and coterminous issues.


Colons separate the 8 groups of 4 hexadecimal characters that make up IPv6 addresses. Trailing zeroes will have to include. All groups must represent one character. Leading zeros do not change the numerical value of a number.

Another format was developed for general addresses that contain long strings of zeros. This method permits a single continuous series of zeros to be compressed to a double colon.

The third format is intended for a mixed environment using IPv6 and IPv4. While the last 32 bits are written in decimal as the IPv4 address, the first six groups of the IPv6 address are hexadecimal prefixes. This also allows for compression. Ther is no ambiguity in determining the complete address, when all formats still specify exactly 128 bits.

Address Types

IPv6 specifies various types of addresses for specific purposes. It includes specialized subtypes. A node may have more than one address assigned to it. However, the IPv6 specification governs the minimum types and quantity of addresses a node will have. Unicast addresses find assignments with one node. Every node has to have at least one unicast address.

Multicast addresses are assigned to a multicast group. A multicast group shares a familiar address. When the same data is sent to multiple nodes to reduce the bandwidth that would be required if it was sent to each node, this type of address is used. Because it is bandwidth-intensive, streaming video sent to a multicast address is a good example.

Anycast addresses are assigned to a group of nodes, as well. However, it is enough that one node receives the data.


IPv6 offers multiple configuration methods, for instance, stateless auto-configuration, stateful autoconfiguration, manual configuration. Manual configuration is dependent on implementation. When the manual configuration of hosts or additional servers is not required, the stateless autoconfiguration is used. Stateful autoconfiguration is particular in that a host acquires interface address configuration as well as parameter information from a server.


This process permits a network host to generate itself a unique address based on network topology. This process includes creating a link-local address, checking its uniqueness in a link, and deciding what info should be auto-configured.

Information Generation

The client forms a Request Message and sends it to the server to request configuration parameters. To request the additional configuration information, the client uses its self-generated link-local address for the interface it wishes to configure. The server subsequently responds with Reply messages containing the requested configuration parameters. These can include status information regarding the info asked for by the client. The client may formulate multiple Request messages. Subsequently, he may send each of them to a different server to generate different info as needed.


Three aims are envisaged for the successful transition to IPv6. The main goal is for IPv6 and IPv4 hosts to have unbroken communication. Also, IPv6 routers and hosts have arranged throughout the internet in a precise structure sans interdependencies. Lastly, the transition should be easily comprehensible to all.

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