The IPv4 to IPv6 Conversion Guide
The Internet has exploded! And you don't have to trust me on that - just look around you! We are surrounded by lots of devices which are connected to the Internet, and each one of them needs to have its own IP address.

Under these circumstances, it's not surprising that the supply of IP addresses is constantly and quickly depleting. While the problem affects both wired and wireless network users, it's particularly serious for people using Wi-Fi networks, who may need to replace their wireless routers in the near future.

Of course, there's always the option of updating the router firmware, but some manufacturers may not be inclined to provide free firmware updates, preferring to use this problem as an opportunity to sell their newer products.

As you probably know, an IP address consists of a set of four numbers that looks like this:


Any of these four numbers can have values that range from 0 to 255. In your home, the router or modem has a public IP address, and all the devices that are connected to it have private IP addresses, which are assigned to them by your router or modem. This means that a regular home only uses a public IP address.

Back in the 80s, when the current IPv4 system was designed, its creators thought that the available 4 billion IP addresses will be more than enough for everyone. Well, it looks like they were wrong! We ran out of unique IPs a few years ago. Sure, it will take some time until all these addresses will be assigned to the devices that are being built as you read this article, but the truth is that IPv4 has come close to its end.
The solution is to use the new IPv6 addresses, which are made of up to eight hexadecimal octets. Here's how a standard IPv6 address looks like:


It ain't pretty, but it works. And the number of available IPv6 addresses is huge, being billions and billions of times larger than the old IPv4! That should keep us happy for a few centuries ;)

I said that the new IPv6 system ain't pretty, and I said that for a simple reason: we need to migrate the entire Internet to the new IP addressing system.

Most modern routers and operating systems (starting with Mac OS X and Windows 7) provide support for IPv6. But if you have an older router, it may not work properly with IPv6. If this is the case, you should consider changing its operating system to DD-WRT or Tomato.

Most Internet service providers plan to support both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols in the future. In fact, many of them are forced to do so, because they didn't update all their hardware yet. It is possible to run your LAN using IPv6, of course, but if your ISP didn't update its infrastructure, you will need to purchase a router that is able to tunnel the IPv6 traffic to IPv4.

The best idea is to call your Internet service provider, and find out if they have made the switch to IPv6. And if the answer is negative, it's best to keep running your network using IPv4 for now.

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