IPv6 and What It Brings To The Table

What IPv6 is

IPv6 is a network layer protocol which provides addressing and routing between hosts in a network. This is a new version that will supersede the older one (IPv4) someday. It also brings new features and aims to solve some problems, including the notorious depletion of available addresses for hosts. This is the main problem that exists today with IPv4.

Current status of IPv6 in details (without technical information)

IPv4 addresses are pretty much out of stock and cannot be received easily. The IPv6 is a new tech and it’s supposed to solve that problem. While the benefits are quite obvious, it is still unclear when it gets significant adoption.

In 2011 and 2012 two attempts were made aiming to introduce IPv6 on a large scale. This attempt was made by big companies such as Google or Facebook. However, there are still some obstacles on the way to bringing IPv6 to the masses. According to Google's statistics (https://www.google.com/intl/en/ipv6/statistics.html), 9% of users access Google services via IPv6. A break up of usage statistics by country shows that only a small number of countries have widely adopted IPv6. Most notable examples are Belgium (40 %), the United States (almost 25 %) and Portugal (22 %). Most countries have small IPv6 penetration.

That situation here is quite understandable. First of all, most users won't even care how they get online. They are happy as long as it’s working okay. And the good old IPv4 seems to be doing its job just fine. While the IPv6 stack of technologies is complete and implemented, it still requires some knowledge and has certain limitations.

Eventually, the transition will get a kick start someday, when popular web resources will drop IPv4 support. Until then, we’ll wait for IPv6 to be fully implemented and adopted, which requires comprehensive testing in huge networks and with a wide range of hardware and software. Even if ISP will not provide native IPv6 support, advanced users can find a way to try it via tunnels.

Supported software & hardware

Most modern hardware, such as routers, laptops, computers, mobile phones, tablets and so on are dual-stack, i.e. support both IPv4 and IPv6. The most popular operating systems, i.e. Windows, Linux, OS X, Android and iOS also support it without issues. However, there are some limitations here. For example, Android doesn't support DHCPv6 protocol and only supports RA which serves a similar purpose, but from the user perspective it works in a bit different way.

About routers

Routers over IPv4 are often used with Network Address Translation (NAT). This is done by using a private address in a Local Network. This brings some limitations when you try accessing devices behind NAT from outside of the Local Network. The most known solution to this is Port Forwarding. IPv6 brings a different solution: each device will have its unique address. However, NAT with IPv4 was some kind of a security hack for devices in a Local Network. To bring the same functionality IPv6 will require some knowledge and setup, mostly concerning proper firewall configuration.

How to check for IPv6 support

If someone wants to know whether IPv6 is available or not, the best way to do it is just visit some web sites:

1.http://test-ipv6.com will show full information about your current setup;

2.https://ipv6.google.com is a dedicated address available only through IPv6.

If it doesn't work, then IPv6 is not available on your system.

If IPv6 is not available on your system, then you have some options:

1.Forget about it. Internet is just working, and nothing will stop working it for now (and in the foreseeable future).

2.Still interested? Then contact your ISP and ask them whether they support it or not. If yes, then just follow the instructions. If not, then proceed to next step.

3.Use tunnel broker services.

Tunnel brokers

Tunnel broker is a way for using IPv6 via IPv4-enabled networks via a tunnel. This way presents its peculiar limitations. First of all, this is not a native network solution. However, it will work as normal for single devices or huge networks (such as local networks with a router). In most cases, this setup will require manual software installation and settings configuration. Not all routers support such features (especially, with stock firmwares), so IPv6 may required a modded firmware.

The most known solution are Hurricane Electric (HE) and SixXS services. They're both free and provide their service using 6in4. This is one of the ways of providing IPv6 over IPv4 networks by encapsulating IPv6 packets through an existing network connection.

Microsoft offers its own way for connecting hosts to IPv6 networks using Teredo tunneling adapter. This is another method which was enabled by default since Windows Vista and 7 (for now it seems that it’s no longer working on Vista and 7, and is only supported by Windows 10. However, with 10 it also may require additional setup). It relies on another technology called 6to4 and ISATAP. The whole point of it is to provide an IPv6 connection and then use a tunnel (such as HE or SixXS). Teredo is only a temporary solution. The better approach is to stick with HE or SixXS solutions.

IPv6 advantages for remote access and IoT

What advantages will bring IPv6 regarding remote access to devices? This may be is the most interesting part. Every device will have its own IP address and there won't be such workarounds as NAT. The only disadvantage is the length of IPv6 addresses. Full length will require to remember 32 symbols (8 blocks with 4 symbols each, hexadecimal).

Internet of Things (IoT) is a relatively new technology where the main idea it to connect massive amounts of physical devices into networks. However, as of current (i.e. given the lack of IPv4 addresses), it is almost impossible to fully implement it. IPv6, on the other hand, will give every device its own IP address.


Remote desktop and similar tech relying on peer-to-peer connections (including Internet of Things) will obviously benefit from the mass adoption of IPv6. Other than that, the end user will hardly notice any change. The beauty of layered approach is that the end users would often hardly know anything about the underlying tech. So, basically, the main potential issue in the transition to IPv6 is how smooth it might be for the end users.