IPv6 is the next generation Internet Protocol (IP) address standard that will supplement and eventually replace IPv4, the protocol most Internet services use today.
Why It Matters
An IP address is basically a postal address for each and every Internet-connected device. Without one, websites would not know where to send the information each time you perform a search or try to access a website. However, the world officially ran out of the 4.3 billion available IPv4 addresses in February 2011.
Yet, hundreds of millions of people are still to come online, many of whom will do so in the next few years. IPv6 is what will allow them to do so, providing enough addresses (2128 to be exact) for everyone and all of their various devices.
A lack of Internet addresses would have caused many problems; your favourite web programmes would slow down, computers would find it more difficult to communicate with one another, and your privacy could be compromised because it will be hard to tell the difference between you and another computer user down the street.
To allow the Internet to continue to grow and spread across the world, implementing IPv6 is necessary.
The Internet Society is highly involved in all aspects of IPv6, from its ongoing work in the IETF to increasing its real-world deployment with the help of our Deploy360 Programme. We provide hands on, technical deployment information to IT professionals responsible for implementing new technologies and standards on their networks. Programmes bridge the gap between open Internet standards processes and final adoption of those standards by the global operations community.
Guides to IPv6
Work involving the IETF