< Back

What is IPv6?

Disclaimer: Surfshark does not support IPv6 at the moment, you can read more about that here. However, this Internet Protocol will be implemented in the future. 

Each website and every network has an IP address. The IP address is being used to identify the exact location on the World Wide Web and transfer information to that location. 

That is basically the same way as your house address is being used to deliver letters to your mailbox.

The primary way to implement that was IPv4 - an IP address consisting of 4 sections with numbers, for example, 81.223.14.9. This method has been used since the ’80s (early stages of the internet) and is still mainly used today. 

The problem is that such structure of IP address allows creating 2^32 (about 4.3 billion) unique addresses. Back in the day that seemed quite a large number that should be more than enough for the whole internet. 

Who could have thought that about 30 years later there will be more than 2.8 billion smartphones, 1.7 billion websites and over 2 billion personal computers in the world…

Long story short - the world is running short of IP (IPv4) addresses.

That is where the more recent technology comes in - the IPv6. What is different about IPv6 is that it’s consisted of 8 sections. Also, letters are also being used in the address. For example, the well known IPv6 address of Facebook is:

2a03:2880:f11c:8183:face:b00c::25de 

Can you spot something special about it?

IPv6 address performs basically the same function as the IPv4, but the good thing about it - it can provide 2^128 unique IP addresses.

How much is 2^128? Well, that should be about…

340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 unique IP addresses? Okay, that seems to be enough to store all internet data for a very long time, probably forever. Let’s hope we do not have to introduce an IPv8 30 years later.

The current state when most servers are running on the old IPv4 puts us into a situation, where most of the internet has to be moved from one protocol to another. This process might take at least several years from now. However, many websites are already running on dual-stack, which is both - IPv4 and IPv6. Also, many internet providers are implementing IPv6 on their networks. 

Several years later it is expected to transfer the most of internet traffic to the IPv6 protocol, but the process seems to be smooth so far and you should not notice any significant difference.

Was this article helpful?