For those of you who rely on the Internet to gain information, shop, connect with people and interact on social networks, you may not give much thought to how all of those things are possible.
The plan was put in place in the 1970s. Known as IPv4, it ensured that computers and devices could find one another through a common address plan. The problem now is this plan is running out of addresses and the growth of the Internet is not likely to wane, putting increased focus on IP Transit.
A recent Washington Post report highlighted this coming change and what consumers and businesses need to know about the next phase, known as IPv6. The good news is this change can enhance computing security and application reliability and performance. Any business that waits until the last minute, however, will scramble for costly equipment updates and miss out on opportunities created by this change.
Internet addresses in the IPv4 world were formed in a quartet of numbers, such as 126.96.36.199. This method – not to be confused with a URL, such as www.tmcnet.com – ensures you reach your intended destination. URLs appear to do the same thing, but in IP Transit, a single URL can be tied to multiple IP addresses or vice versa.
IPv6 was ratified by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 1998. This plan shifts to a 128-bit IP address space (each one broken into hexadecimal groups). As a result, there can be around 340 undecillion (340 times 10 to the 36th power) possible addresses. To clarify, that means billions of addresses for each living person – wow!!
As we take a closer look at IP Transit, let’s examine the benefits of IPv6, aside from the outrageous number of available addresses. This new plan will also include a level of security baked into the protocol. In addition, it carries capabilities for verifying addresses and known identities to establish trust between routers. This method in theory should make it harder for hackers to perform “address spoof” attacks.
Routers and firewalls within IPv6 will provide greater protection against anonymous attacks and simpler, more reliable secure connections for the movement of financial or other sensitive data. This plan will also allow greater security and performance for business-critical application, including automatic order placement, customer billing and supplier relations.
IPv6 is also expected to provide finer control of how rich media and critical applications perform on the network, thereby allowing faster transactions over virtual private networks (VPNs). VoIP communications are also boosted with IPv6 as it improves quality of service to allow certain networks to get priority during heavy network use.
In all, IP Transit is a complicated process on the backend, but when optimized can deliver significant benefits to all players. The move to IPv6 is still ongoing, but is likely to gain momentum with increased Internet growth. Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Erin Monda