World IPv6 Day, on June 8, is when a few Internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Akamai, and Limelight Networks, will offer their content over IPv6 for a 24-hour test run.
When the Internet was first designed in the early '80s, the 4.3 billion addresses provided by the current Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), seemed more than enough. Nowadays, with the rapid penetration of the Internet to so many devices, from cell phones and TVs to cars and even washing machines and refrigerators, that amount of IPs is running out fast, and is actually expected to exhaust by the end of the year.
For this reason, the need to move to a new IP version is imminent. The successor, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), is capable of providing quite a few more addresses, with a total of some 340 undecillion. (It will take a long time to count but each undecillion equals a trillion trillion trillion.) Basically it's safe to say that IPv6 will give each person on Earth at least 3, or maybe even 5 or 10 IP addresses and still have quite a sizable amount reserved for future purposes. Apart from that, IPv6 also offers other improvements, such as faster speed and better security.
The transition to IPv6 will take time. This is mostly because it's a new protocol and isn't backward compatible with IPv4. For this reason, the two protocols will coexist for the foreseeable future, and networking devices will need to be able to support both of them seamlessly.
Anticipating this future, D-Link says that it's one of the first networking companies to offer IPv6-compliant networking devices, including routers, access points, and power-line communication devices. The benefits of these devices, most of which are the same benefits of IPv6, include:
- Automatically IPv6-ready: Your network automatically covers both IPv4 and IPv6 standards to support legacy products--an existing laptop or set-top box--as well as new devices with an IPv6 address.
- Enhanced network security: Plug in an IPv6-enabled D-Link router and the new security feature is automatically turned on.
- Increased network speeds and accessibility: As Web sites start to offer content over IPv6 and ISPs deploy IPv6 service, an IPv6-compliant router offers faster connection speeds and provides access to Web sites and applications that have transitioned. With its better design, IPv6 has integrated quality of service, so traffic is classified by voice, video, and data, and transported accordingly, resulting in faster network speeds.
- Simplified network management: Under the IPv6 protocol, communication between each client on a network is simplified without the need to maintain address schemes or split up the limited number of IPv4 addresses; now all fixed and mobile devices including cell phones can be transported on a single common network.
- Continued connectivity to the Web: IPv6-ready routers ensure continued support and connectivity to the Internet, even after the IPv6 address scheme transitions.
- IPv4 communication with IPv6: Each ISP will handle communication between IPv4 and IPv6 networks in its own manner. However, D-Link's IPv6-certified routers will seamlessly support each communication method without requiring interaction from users.
While it's likely that most existing routers can be upgraded to support IPv6 via a firmware update, D-Link says it currently already offers a selection of wireless routers and other networking devices that are IPv6-ready. Examples of these devices are the DIR-655 and the DIR-825. Other networking vendors also plan on updating firmwares to offer their own, such as Asus with the RT-N56, or Cisco with the new Linksys E series.