Internet Protocol - The Next Generation
Internet Protocol, or IP is the addressing system used on the Internet. Due to the rapid expansion of the Internet, the current version, Ipv4, is in need of updating. Internet Protocol version 4 addresses "are 32-bit numbers often expressed as 4 octets in "dotted decimal" notation (for example, 192.168.45.230)." [IANA website]. This system supplies 4,294,967,296 (or 232) addresses. While this number may seem to be plenty, some say the internet is doubling in size every 9 months. [3com Website]. With this expansion, the Internet Engineering Task Force estimates that the Internet will run out of addresses by 2010. To solve this problem, a new version of IP is being developed. Internet Protocol Next Generation (Ipng), formally called version six, is currently in the development and testing.
The major concern with the current version of IP, is the available addresses. While 4 billion addresses may have seemed like plenty at ...view middle of the document...
Even with the current expansion of the Internet, this should supply addresses for some time to come.
Address space is not the only area being optimized. With multimedia technology now becoming a large part of the Internet, IPng is also being optimized to handle multimedia as well as "real-time" services. This is being accomplished by adding a "Priority Label" in the header of IPng. "The 4-bit Priority field in the IPv6 header enables a source to identify the desired delivery priority of its packets, relative to other packets from the same source." [Sun Microsystems Website]. In this way, time sensitive traffic can have priority over traffic that is not time sensitive.
Security is obviously a major concern for all Internet users. IPng addresses security issues with two different header options. The IPng Authentication Header and the Encapsulating Security Header. The IPng Authentication Header "option will provide authentication and integrity but no confidentiality." [Ohio State Website]. The Encapsulating Security Header "will provide the integrity and confidentiality missing from the IPng Authentication Header option." [Ohio State Website] Depending on the need, the two types of header security can be used together or separately. This allows for the flexibility that is needed when dealing with the multitudes of Internet users.
The explosive growth of the internet has taught us many things, including mistakes that were made and places with room for improvement. IPng is essentially an opportunity to take what has been learned over the past few years and act on it. Despite the improvements being made, IPng will not go into effect overnight. "Experts agree that while the IPv4 Internet will eventually grow to its limits, IPv4 will probably not disappear within our lifetimes. Certainly corporate nets will continue to use IPv4 until ALL v4-based services are usable over v6." IPng, is necessary though, so now is the time to start work on the next generation of IP.
Sun Microsystems Website
Ohio State Website