Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is a replacement to the currently used IP address format due to the number of available number combinations running out quickly as the number of connected devices, servers, and users grows at an alarming rate. IPv6 has been rolling out slowly over the last couple of years, and it still hasn’t been close to universally adopted. As far as IPv6 adoption goes, Europe has been the quickest to switch its systems over, and they are curently leading the world in adoption of the new standard.
Overview of IPv6
IPv6 uses 128-bit hexadecimal numbers instead of the usual IP address format we’re all used to. As a result, the numbers are less human readable but easily machine readable. This change was made to vastly increase the number of possible number combinations so that the pool of numbers is no longer in danger of running out.
An example of an IPv6 number is something like 2001:0db8:0000:0042:0000:8a2e:0370:7334. Our current IPv4 protocol uses numbers everyone is familiar with, such as 192.168.1.1.
According to statistics put out by Google, IPv6 adoption has reached about 17% globally. The main reason for such a slow rollout is the vast amount of collaboration that needs to be done to accomplish this. ISPs, content providers, and hardware providers all need to push updates to make sure services, ISPs, and devices are all compatible with the protocol. That has been slow, especially on the side of ISPs.
A top ten list of the countries with the greatest percent of IPv6 adoption has European countries in six out of the ten spots. Belgium and Greece top the list with 38% and 25% adoption, respectively. Switzerland, Germany, Estonia, and the UK have also made the list.
The United States placed third on the list overall, with 22% adoption. India also places highly on the list.
It’s inevitable that eventually IPv6 will see a full adoption in the internet community. As IPv4 addresses are running out, there really is no choice. It’s unclear at this point how long that will take, but the inevitable day of 100% adoption will very likely come to pass.
In addition to a larger pool (340 billion billion billion billion to be exact), IPv6 also offers more efficiency, directed data flows, a simplified networking configuration, support for new services, and improved security over IPv4.