For those who aren't in the know, here is a quick rundown of what it is all about. I'll apologise in advance for those whom are already falling asleep and for those whom are more technically minded, please understand that I am just trying to keep things relatively simple for now. If you would like more technical information there are various pages on the Internet. One such place would be Wikipedia.

...

Q. What does IPv6 and IPv4 mean?

A. Internet Protocol version 6 and version 4.


For those who aren't aware we currently use what is known as IPv4 and the numbers for the Internet have run out. IPv6 is designed to replace IPv4.

What are they? In the simplest way these are the numerical system that computers use to communicate with each other over the Internet.

As humans we type in addresses such as www . skyuser . co . uk (I've spaced that out on purpose so that you can read it).

The next step is for you computer to refer to a table to translate that address into a numerical address. Now your computer might not have that information so it will normally refer to your router, which in turn refers to server on the Internet which hosts virtually all the addresses for the sites and servers across the Internet.

Sky User's IPv4 address is 77.240.11.51 . Putting this into your browser takes you to the host's web page though. The BBC have a number of servers. One of them is 212.58.246.91.

IPv4 uses 4 numbers that range from 0 to 256 (decimal). This provides for a possible range of 4,294,967,296 addresses. Some of these are reserved for specific tasks. Your router will typically use the range 192.168.0. 1-255 for your local network.

IPv6 uses a considerably larger range of numbers. Instead of 4 numbers, it uses 8 groups of numbers. Each group is made from 4 hexadecimal (base 16) numbers. This means that there is around 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 addresses. This is somewhat more than has been available with IPv4 and actually means that every human on the planet could each personally have multiple devices and we'd still have plenty to spare.

An IPv6 number might look like: 2001:1548:EF54:001C:5540:0000:0000:1247:6800

There are systems in place to shorten it a little, but that's something that can be discussed on another day.