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Internet Protocol versions IPv4, IPv5 and IPv6

IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) is the part of the TCP/IP protocol that is responsible for addressing packets, fragmenting and reassembling packets, specifying the type of service, and security. IP by itself doesn't establish a connection between source and destination. The TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is what establishes and monitors the connection between source and destination.

IPv4 uses a 32-bit address scheme which allows for a maximum of just over 4 billion addresses. With all the devices connected to the Internet today, eventually all the addresses will be used. The IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) began working on IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6), a standard for a 128-bit IP address in 1998. IPv6 allows for a maximum of about 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses. IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) is designed to work along side IPv4, and may someday replace IPv4.

Because 32-bit binary numbers are difficult for humans to read, IPv4 addresses are written as four 8-bit values separated by dots. For example 16.200.21.160 could be an IPv4 address. A 128-bit IPv6 binary number would be even more difficult for humans to read, so IPv6 addresses are written as eight 16-bit values expressed in hexadecimal notation separated by colons. For example 8f:fe21:3ffe:67cf:1900:4545:f8:200 could be an IPv6 address.

What happens when all the IPv4 addresses are used up? Nothing, because IPv6 is designed to work along side IPv4. A process has been designed that will automatically convert IPv4 addresses to IPv6 addresses. The conversion involves using a process called EUI-64 (Extended Unique Identifier) to expand a devices 48-bit MAC address to 64 bits (basically by inserting FFFE between the OUI part and the NIC specific part), then prefixing the 32-bit IPv4 address with a 16-bit IPv6 header and a 16-bit code to identify that the address is an IPv4 to IPv6 converted address.

As far as enterprise networks are concerned, using the conversion process described above, IPv4 networks are expected to operate along with IPv6 based networks for a long time into the future. However, some old IPv4 based consumer devices may eventually stop working.

You may be wondering what happened to IPv5. An Internet protocol experimented with in the 1980s used the version 5 designation, but it was never widely adapted.

More Networking Protocols and Standards:
• Introducing OpenStack
• IP version 6 (IPv6) Advantages and Implementation
• IEEE 802.11 Wireless Modulation Methods
• Wireless Standards - 802.11a 802.11b 802.11g 802.11n 802.11i Explained
• How to Set Up FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
• Routing Datagrams
• Network Cabling and Components
• Networking and Internet Standards Organizations
• RADIUS Protocol
• Internet Protocol versions IPv4, IPv5 and IPv6

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