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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  TCP/IP Lower-Layer (Interface, Internet and Transport) Protocols (OSI Layers 2, 3 and 4)
      9  TCP/IP Internet Layer (OSI Network Layer) Protocols
           9  Internet Protocol (IP/IPv4, IPng/IPv6) and IP-Related Protocols (IP NAT, IPSec, Mobile IP)

Previous Topic/Section
IP Multicasting
Previous Page
Pages in Current Topic/Section
1
Next Page
IPv6 Overview, Changes and Transition
Next Topic/Section

Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) / IP Next Generation (IPng)

Since 1981, TCP/IP has been built on version 4 of the Internet Protocol. IPv4 was created when the giant, world-wide Internet we take for granted today was just a small experimental network. Considering how much the Internet has grown and changed over the course of two decades, IPv4 has done its job admirably. At the same time, it has been apparent for many years that certain limitations in this venerable protocol would hold back the future growth of both Internet size and services if not addressed.

Due to the key role that IP plays, changing it is no simple feat. It means a substantial modification to the way that nearly everything in TCP/IP operates. However, even though we find change difficult, most of us know that it is necessary. For the last several years, development of a new version of IP has been underway, officially called Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) and also sometimes referred to as IP Next Generation or IPng. IPv6 is poised to take over from IPv4, and will be the basis for the Internet of the future.

In this section I provide a detailed description of IP version 6. Since IPv6 is still IP just like IPv4, it performs the same functions: addressing, encapsulation, fragmentation and reassembly, and datagram delivery and routing. For this reason, the subsections and topics in this discussion of IPv6 are patterned after the subsections in the section on IPv4. They include a discussion of IPv6 concepts and issues, coverage of IPv6 addressing and data packaging, and a look at how version 6 does fragmentation, reassembly and routing.

Background Information: Since IPv6 represents the evolution of IP, many of its concepts of operation are built upon those introduced in IPv4. To avoid unnecessary duplication, this section has been written with the assumption that the reader is familiar with the operation of IPv4, especially addressing and how datagrams are packaged and delivered. If you have not read the section on IPv4, reviewing it first would be wise, because the description of IPv6 focuses on how it differs from the current IP version.


Related Information: You may wish to refer to the sections on ICMP (part of which is ICMPv6—ICMP for IPv6) and the IPv6 Neighbor Discovery (ND) protocol, since these are “companions” of sort to IPv6. However, it is not necessary.


Note: IPv6 is obviously still under development, and as such, writing a section such as this one is like trying to hit a moving target. This is probably why most TCP/IP guides don't say much about IPv6—it keeps changing! I think it is important, so I have described it as defined on the date of publishing. However, since changes are being made to both IPv6 standards and implementation every month, there is a higher probability of information in this particular section being out of date. (I had to make several revisions even prior to publishing the first version of this Guide!)


Quick navigation to subsections and regular topics in this section



Previous Topic/Section
IP Multicasting
Previous Page
Pages in Current Topic/Section
1
Next Page
IPv6 Overview, Changes and Transition
Next Topic/Section

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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

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