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Definition: IPv6


(Internet Protocol Version 6) The latest generation of the IP protocol. IPv6 greatly increased the number of unique IP addresses that computers and devices connected to the Internet can be assigned. For all practical purposes, the quantity of addresses is now unlimited.

The IPv6 specification was completed in 1997 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and first deployed in 2004 when ICANN added IPv6 records to its DNS root servers for Japan and Korea. IPv6 is backward compatible with IPv4 and was designed to fix its shortcomings, such as data security and maximum number of addresses.

Virtually Unlimited Devices
The address space was increased from 32 bits in IPv4 to 128 bits in IPv6 (see binary values). IPv6 also supports quality of service (QoS) parameters for real-time audio and video. Originally called "IP Next Generation" (IPng), IPv6 and IPv4 exist side-by-side.

What Happened to IPv5?
IPv5 was an experimental streaming protocol that was not involved with IP address space. See 6LoWPAN, IPv4 address exhaustion and IP address.