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IPv6 – what does it mean?

There has been a great deal of talk over the last few weeks about some big changes that are happening to the Internet: mainly, the transition to IPv6. Exactly what IPv6 means is still a mystery to most people. Luckily, we have a simple explanation that can help you to better understand it.

What it is

IPv6 is the latest version of IP, or Internet Protocol, which is the method by which data is sent over the Internet. IPv4 is the version of IP that has been used up until now, but it is running out of addresses. This is where IPv6 comes into play.

The previous version of IP, IPv4, used 32-bit addresses, which allowed for a total of 4 billion unique addresses. IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, making it possible to create many more unique addresses.

How the transition may affect you

Most likely, you will encounter most of your problems with IPv6, if any, during the initial migration from IPv4. The potential problems will likely depend on the browser you use and the Web server that is hosting the domain you wish to access. Some potential issues include:

  • If you’re using IPv6 and you attempt to access an IPv4 site, you may receive a “404” error.
  • If you are on a network that only supports IPv4, you may not be able to access IPv6 sites – you can reconfigure your network in order to fix this.

Despite these minor issues, many people agree that you will most likely still be able to access any site.

How to avoid IPv6-related problems

If you’re suffering from connectivity problems, there are a few sites you can go to that will help you determine whether or not they are related to IPv6. Try going tohttp://omgipv6day.com/ or http://test-ipv6.com/ which will both tell you what problems you may experience, if any, and what changes you need to make in order to fix them.

Although the transition to IPv6 may be confusing at first, it likely won’t cause too many major problems. For more insight into the IPv6 change, check out this PCWorld article.

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