2.1. What is IPv6?

IPv6 is a new layer 3 protocol which will supersede IPv4 (also known as IP). IPv4 was designed a long time ago (RFC 760 / Internet Protocol from January 1980) and since its inception, there have been many requests for more addresses and enhanced capabilities. Latest RFC is RFC 2460 / Internet Protocol Version 6 Specification. Major changes in IPv6 are the redesign of the header, including the increase of address size from 32 bits to 128 bits. Because layer 3 is responsible for end-to-end packet transport using packet routing based on addresses, it must include the new IPv6 addresses (source and destination), like IPv4.

For more information about the IPv6 history take a look at older IPv6 related RFCs listed e.g. at SWITCH IPv6 Pilot / References.


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