As a global provider of digital marketing products, we at Intela are acutely aware of the diminishing pool of IP addresses for our customers. While there is a standard to support IPV6 and transitional IPV4/6 hybrid addresses, not all legacy networks and routers currently support the naming and routing changes required to pass traffic. We are working to position our infrastructure to support both IPV4 and IPV6 so the transit paths of our customer marketing offers flow freely now and in the future.
How Did We Get Here?
In 1981, the IPV4 standard was approved. The standard provides numerical addresses formatted as 188.8.131.52 and supports 4.29 billion different address combinations that could be allocated and used by companies to support global networking. What was imagined at that time was a set of numbers that would never be fully utilized. Fast forward 30 years: with the unprecedented growth of the Internet, mobile devices, smart TVs, etc., the IPV4 address pool was exhausted on February 3, 2011. Anticipating this growth, a new standard was established: IPV6. IPV6 has 340 Undecillion (3.4E+38) addresses, which is anticipated to last for some time. But with a new standard comes some confusion, as IPV6 addresses are in hexidecimal.
Making Sense of IPV6 Addresses
IPV6 is an impending reality; by now, the familiar format of an IPV4 address is second nature, but reading an IPV6 address is just as easy despite its appearance.
Here’s an IPV4 address: 192.168.1.1
This is the format most people are familiar with. It’s all numbers, and there are four octets and no shorthand.
Here’s an IPV6 address: 2002:0ab8:0000:0000:0000:ff00:0042:1234
Very different – and harder to remember. Fortunately, IPV6 implements a number of techniques that allow one to shorten these addresses, based on a few simple rules:
- Remove one or more leading zeros from one or more groups of hexidecimal digits.
- The above example becomes 2002:ab8:0:0:0:ff00:42:1234
- Omit one or more consecutive sections of zeroes, using a double colon (::) in their place.
- Note: this abbreviation can only be used once in an address
- The above address becomes 2002:0ab8::ff00:0042:1234
- You can combine the techniques to shorten the address.
- The above address becomes 2002:ab8::ff00:42:1234
Using these techniques, we can even shorten the localhost address of 0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0001 to ::1, which is often the shorthand one will see.
Post by: Matt Mensch, Senior Systems Administrator