Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is a revision designed to upgrade the old IPv4 system as it ran out of available network addresses. Instead of 4 sets of decimal numbers separated by periods (“.”) used by IPv4, IPv6 uses eight sets of alpha-numeric hexadecimal numbers.
This minor change produces a virtually unlimited number of unique IP addresses. It also provides more efficient routing, better security, and eliminates many network problems such as duplicate addresses assigned to different devices.
When the phone system runs out of telephone numbers, one of the simplest solutions is to add one more digit or create new area codes. This is similar to what IPv6 does for Internet addressing.
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Top 3 IPv6 Benefits for the Internet of Things
The main reason for IPv6’s development is to accommodate the creation of more Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)/Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Since IPv4 addresses are running out, the introduction of IPv6 is vital, especially for the Internet of Things (IoT). Here are three reasons why IPv6 is crucial for IoT.
1. Security from Malicious Attacks
Billions of smart devices come out daily, and these developments give rise to security concerns. IoT engineers are concerned about how interconnected technologies can stay protected against hacking. Just think about it, if hackers gain access to a smart city, the results would be catastrophic as they can hack into people’s homes and even the utilities and government systems used within the affected area. IPv6 use assures them of better security protocols compared with IPv4.
IPv6, for one, can carry out end-to-end encryption for all systems. As such, its use can help mitigate man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks where threat actors intercept victims’ communications.
Similarly, IPv6 also allows for better security for name resolution or turning an IP address into a domain name. Its built-in Secure Neighbor Discovery (SEND) Protocol can enable cryptographic confirmation of any host claiming to own addresses during a connection, preventing different types of naming-based attacks from occurring. IPv6 makes it difficult for an attacker to redirect traffic that flows between two legitimate hosts.
2. Increased Scalability
By 2020, as many as 25 billion “things” would connect to the Internet. This massive increase in IoT devices would require just as many IP addresses to access the Web. IPv6’s trillions and trillions of possible IP address combinations can provide IoT devices what they need to go online for a long time.
3. Addressing NAT Barriers
Annually, tons of IoT innovations go to market. As such, these devices and technologies need to remain connected so that they can function correctly. Among the issues with IPv4 use had to do with Network Address Translation (NAT). The method was a temporary solution to deal with the rapid Internet population expansion. It allowed users and devices to use the same public IP address. However, this technique posed security issues in that when malicious IP addresses get blocked from a site, all of its shared users will lose access.
The introduction of IPv6 allows IoT device owners to be uniquely addressable without the need for workarounds such as NAT.
IPv6 not only solves the current lack of available IP addresses but also provides more security for all users.