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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)
                9  Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) / IP Next Generation (IPng)
                     9  IPv6 Overview, Changes and Transition

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IPv6 Motivation and Overview
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Transition from IPv4 to IPv6
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Major Changes And Additions In IPv6

In the preceding overview, I explained that the primary motivator for creating a new version of IP was to fix the problems with addressing under IPv4. But as we also saw there, numerous other design goals existed for the new protocol as well. Once the decision was made to take the significant step of creating a new version of a protocol as important as IP, it made sense to use the opportunity to make as many improvements as possible.

Of course, there is still the problem of the pain of change to worry about, so each potential change or addition in IPv6 had to have benefits that would outweigh its costs. The resulting design does a good job of providing useful advantages while maintaining most of the core of the original Internet Protocol. The following list provides a summary of the most important changes between IPv4 and IPv6, showing some of the ways that the IPv6 team met the design goals for the new protocol:

The rest of the sections on IPv6 provide much more detail on these changes and additions to IP. You'll notice that the majority of these are related to addressing, since that is where the greatest number of important changes have been made in IPv6. Of course, routing and addressing are closely related, and the changes to addressing has had a big impact on routing as well.

Another change that I should mention is that with the introduction of IPv6, several other TCP/IP protocols that deal intimately with IP have also had to be updated. One of these is ICMP, the most important support protocol for IPv4, which has been revised through the creation of ICMPv6 for IPv6. An addition to TCP/IP is the Neighbor Discovery (ND) protocol, which performs several functions for IPv6 that were done by ARP and ICMP in version 4.


Previous Topic/Section
IPv6 Motivation and Overview
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Transition from IPv4 to IPv6
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

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