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IPv6 Launch - 6 June 2012

You may have heard about IPv6 launch  So what is that? Major internet service providers, home network equipment manufacturers and web companies (including Google, Facebook, Yahoo) are going to permanently switch to IPv6 from IPv4 by 6th June 2012.

You may wonder why we need to switch to IPv6. To understand that, firstly we need to know how the internet works. The internet works by transferring data packets between networks. To send a mail to your friend, you need to know their address. To send an email you need to have their email ID. Every postal adresses and email addresses are unique. That's why you could be able to send mails to your friends around the world without any problem. Like that to send or receive data packets , each devices (computers, phones and all the other devices connected to internet should have a unique address. That address is called as IP (Internet protocol) address. 

The developers of Internet Protocol defined an IP address as a 32 bit number, known as IP version 4 (IPv4) and it is still in use. You may have seen any numbers like that is the format of  IPv4 address. You all will have an IP address assigned to your computers, if you are connected to internet. Since IPv4 adress are 32 bit address we can have 2^32 number of unique addresses (around 4.29billion). However with the enormous growth of the internet most of the IPv4 addresses have now been assigned.

So a new addressing system was developed with 128 bits. 2^128 unique addresses. That is more than enough for more years. IPv6 address will look like this 1202:db8:0:1254:0:342:5:4

The only long term solution for the limited IPv4 address problem is to transfer to the IPv6 address. So World internet society is going to organize a world IPv6 launch day to motivate organizations across the world to prepare to permanently enable the new addressing system called IPv6 on June 6th 2012.

If you like to check your windows computers IP address
  • Go to start menu
  • Click -> Run
  • Type cmd and click OK
  • In the command window type ipconfig 
  • hit Enter
  • You can view your device's IPv4 (and probably IPv6) addresses in the output
Most of the Internet users will not be affected by this IP address changes. You can visit an IPv6 test site to check if your internet connectivity will be impacted by this change. However all the websites which are going to switch to IPv6 address will also continue to support IPv4 address too. So as a internet user you no need to worry about these changes.

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