Internet has become an important infrastructure of the modern society. Today’s Internet is completely based on Internet Protocol version 4 protocol (IPv4) which is the foundation of routing and addressing. In February, 2011, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority announced the exhaustion of available IPv4 addresses. As a result, IPv4 addresses are no longer available to support future development, resulting in growth and economic competitiveness in the IPv6 market. This is followed by trends such as remote monitoring, mobility, smart transport, and smart devices. Even without these trends, shortage of addresses will be a major problem.
The successor of Internet Protocol version 4 protocol has been made available since a decade (1993). It is called the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). Internet Protocol version 6 is the most recent version of the internet protocol. This protocol provides location and identification systems for computers across the internet. This version of the internet protocol was developed by Internet Engineering Task Force in order to deal with the anticipated problem of the exhaustion of the internet protocol version 4.
The IPv6 is meant to replace IPv4, which carries more than 90% of internet addresses worldwide as of May 2014. In addition to a large addressing space, the IPv6 provides technical benefits such as easy management of networks, improved security features, end-to-end connective integrity, unlimited address abundance and integrated mobility and interoperability. The IPv6 permits hierarchical address allocations which facilitates route and network aggregation across the internet network. This limits the expansion of all routing tables. The IPv6 provides a platform for innovation and collaboration and also provides additional optimization for the delivery of services.
The transition from version 4 to version 6 is a crucial evolution in the internet history. The exhaustion of IPv4 address has a considerable impact on the innovation of the internet protocol as it is the most essential parameter for any technology which connects to the internet. Failure to enable transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will have a major impact on consumers access to broadband internet, on e-Government, sensor technologies, intelligent highway systems, internet enabled mobile applications, automated monitoring of natural resources, distribution of renewable energy, and internet support for immigration and advanced employment and welfare applications. However, multi homing problem, lack of real support from dominant router and software vendors and complexity of transition from IPv4 to IPv6 are some of the barriers to the adoption of IPv6.
According to the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), Asia Pacific was the first region on the world coming into the periods of lacking IPv4. Since 2011 no fresh IPv4 addresses have been allotted globally to any of the service providers. The resulting scarcity has compelled global telecommunication companies and internet service providers to increase cost of providing IPv4 addresses by almost three times. The Department of Telecom (DoT) in India has announced March 2014 as a deadline for all state and central government departments for the version 6 readiness. The National Internet Protocol version 6 Deployment Roadmap by the Network and Technologies Cell ordered that all internet service providers with more than ten thousand subscribers should be ready to use IPv6 services. The DoT has also set up IPv6 task force to help the government in making the transition.