Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week 5 Midterm: What is IPv6?

The internet works by sending information from its source to its destination. When you send information from one computer to another computer, the data gets broken up into small pieces or packets. These packets are sent individually through a series of routers. Once each packet finally reaches the receiving computer, it is pieced back together to its original form. "That's the job of the two most important communications protocols on the Internet-The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the internet Protocol (IP). They are frequently referred to as TCP/IP. TCP breaksdown and reassembles the packets, whereas IP is responsible for ensuring the packets are sent to the right destination." (How The Internet Works, Pg. 19). IPv4 is the internet protocol used today. It was designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force in 1981 and has been in use ever since. The main problem with IPv4 is it's lack of memory. It uses a 32-bit address to send packets over the web. with this limited amount of data memory, the internet moves slowly and often times undergoes an effect call address exhaustion. IPv6 plans to fix this problem by upgrading the 32-bit address memory to 128-bit. This will allow a lot more packets to be sent and received all at once. IPv6 has also been changed to make routing more efficient. "IPv6 routers do not perform fragmentation. IPv6 hosts are required to either perform PMTU discovery, perform end-to-end fragmentation, or to send packets no larger than the IPv6 default minimum MTU size of 1280 octets." (wikipedia).The packet header in IPv6 is also much more simplified than that of IPv4. It uses less options in which to send packet data. Therefore, even though IPv6 addresses are four times as large as IPv4 addresses, they are only twice the size as IPv4 headers.

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