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IPv6 Motivation and Overview
(Page 3 of 3)
Design Goals of IPv6
The problem of addressing was the
main motivation for creating IPv6. Unfortunately, this has caused many
people to think that the address space expansion is the only
change made in IP, which is definitely not the case. Since making a
change to IP is such a big deal, it's something done rarely. It made
sense to correct not just the addressing issue but to update the protocol
in a number of other respects as well, to ensure its viability. In fact,
even the addressing changes in IPv6 go far beyond just adding more bits
to IP address fields.
Some of the most important goals
in designing IPv6 include:
IPv6: The Evolution of IP
- Larger Address Space: This is what we
discussed earlier. IPv6 had to provide more addresses for the growing
- Better Management of Address Space: It
was desired that IPv6 not only include more addresses, but a more capable
way of dividing the address space and using the bits in each address.
- Elimination of Addressing Kludges:
Technologies like NAT
are effectively kludges that make up for the lack of address
space in IPv4. IPv6 eliminates the need for NAT and similar workarounds,
allowing every TCP/IP device to have a public address.
- Easier TCP/IP Administration: The designers
of IPv6 hoped to resolve some of the current labor-intensive requirements
of IPv4, such as the need to configure IP addresses. Even though tools
like DHCP eliminate the need to manually configure many hosts, it only
partially solves the problem.
- Modern Design For Routing: In contrast
to IPv4, which was designed before we all had any idea what the modern
Internet would be like, IPv6 was created specifically for efficient
routing in our current Internet, and with the flexibility for the future.
- Better Support For Multicasting: Multicasting
was an option under IPv4 from the start, but support for it has been
slow in coming.
- Better Support For Security: IPv4 was
designed at a time when security wasn't much of an issue, because there
were a relatively small number of networks on the internet, and their
administrators often knew each other. Today, security on the public
Internet is a big issue, and the future success of the Internet requires
that security concerns be resolved.
- Better Support For Mobility: When IPv4
was created, there really was no concept of mobile IP devices. The problems
associated with computers that move between networks led to the need
IP. IPv6 builds on Mobile IP and provides
mobility support within IP itself.
At the same time that IPv6 was intended
to address the issues above and many others with traditional IP, we
should keep in mind that its changes are evolutionary, not revolutionary.
During the many discussions in the IETF in the 1990s, there were some
who said that while we were updating IP, perhaps we should make a complete,
radical change to a new type of internetworking protocol completely.
The end decision was not to do this, but to define a more capable version
of the IP we've been using all along.
The reason for this is simple: IP,
like our trusted older car, works. IPv6 represents an
update that strives to add to the best characteristics of IPv4 rather
than making everyone start over from scratch with something new and
unproven. This design ensures that whatever pain may result from the
change from IPv4 to IPv6 can be managed, and hopefully, minimized.
Key Concept: The new version of the Internet Protocol is Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6). It was created to correct some of the significant problems of IPv4, especially the looming exhaustion of the IPv4 address space, and to improve the operation of the protocol as a whole, to take TCP/IP in to the future.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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