Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)

IPv6 is designed to succeed Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) as the communication protocol for the Internet.

The discussions in this topic are intended to provide an initial overview for any interested reader, not just a technical professional. It is designed as a quick read for a decision-maker or other interested reader anyone who needs an quick understanding of the topic at a high level or for a decision-maker who needs to get up-to-speed.


Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), sometimes referred to as IP Next Generation (IPng), is the new standard for internet communications, replacing the previous Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) standard that has been in use since 1981. IPv6 was published in 1998 and has been operational since 1999.

The interest in IPv6 is motivated by the larger number of addresses available with IPv6, since the last block of IPv4 addresses was assigned in February 2011.

This topic is organized into the following individual sections, which may be separately navigated using the topic menus on the right of the screen.

  • IP Addresses describes the technical and operational framework for Internet addresses including, how they are used on the Internet, how they are managed, and the status of the depletion of the original set of IPv4 addresses. IPv6 supports a larger pool of possible addresses and a larger Internet population.
  • Technical Design describes the technical aspects of IPv6 including the IP address syntax, zero compression, prefixes, and types of addresses. The design of IPv6 includes other improvements including subnetting, routing, and auto-configuration.
  • Networking describes networking in IPv6 including extensions to the domain name system and improved routing, facilitated by the IPv6 protocol. These include improved opportunities to use standard subnetting and summarization for improved routing efficiency.
  • Transition Strategies describes methods of transitioning to IPv6. This section builds on the knowledge gained in the previous sections to understand the problem and contains the "need-to-know" information to allow you to influence transition and deployment efforts. While most personal computers, mobile devices, and networking equipment support IPv6, implementing IPv6 on a network involves many challenges, any of which limit deployment of the new protocol.
  • Information Security describes security considerations for IPv6. These include the need to evolve the conventional enclave architecture to address the changes in the new protocol.
  • Conclusions and Summary, provides a synopsis of the topic and summary of the major points.
  • IPv6 Links summarizes applicable references and research sources.

Begin with the discussion of IPv6 addresses.