Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the latest version of the protocol that we use in our daily lives whenever we go online to browse the Internet. Our computers communicate with web servers and other computers using this protocol. There are quite a few benefits to using IPv6 versus sticking with the older IPv4. We will list out some of these benefits below.
The older IPv4 is only able to support up to 4,294,967,296 IP addresses. That is not a lot if you factor in the number of people on the planet. IPv6 on the other hand is capable of doling out 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IP addresses which is practically unlimited. The larger number of IP addresses is very useful as these days we see more and more Internet of things (IoT) devices like sensors, home appliances, vehicles, etc. that are connected to the Internet.
If you’re on an IPv4 network, you require a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server to assign an IP address to you. With IPv6, this is no longer a necessity as every IPv6 host is capable of automatically assigning themselves an IP address.
IPv6 data packets are encrypted as though you are using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) so there is less chance that your data will be intercepted and also makes packet spoofing a lot harder.
The reason for using Network Address Translation (NAT) was due to the limited number of IPv4 IP addresses and using NAT allowed a group of people to share a single public IP address. When multiple computers are sharing the same public IP address, there is a lot more hassle if you wish to access a specific host computer behind that NAT. You would have to configure port forwarding and also possibly mess around with the firewall settings. With IPv6, every host computer has a public IP address so you can just connect directly to them without any configuration.
IPv6 uses multi-cast instead of broadcast which helps to save network bandwidth if you’re dealing with a bandwidth-intensive packet flow (e.g. video streaming). In addition, the IPv6 packet header has been optimized with unnecessary fields removed making processing the header that much more efficient.