A first time visitor to the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6Knowledge Base might want to begin by skimming the Purpose and Structure of the IPv6 Knowledge Base article in the IPv6 and IoT Frequently Asked Questions section and then explore the Initial Introduction article in the General Information section. 

Almost all unclassified computer networks around the world are interconnected via a worldwide computer network commonly referred to as the Internet which has been continuously expanding in size since the standardization of the Internet Protocol Suite in 1982. The functionality of the Internet has also been expanding. Examples of functionality expansion include:

  1. The World Wide Web (WWW) began appearing on the Internet around 1991. This article describes its expansion.
  2. Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) began appearing on the Internet beginning in 1999. This article provides a summary of IPv6 deployment efforts around the world.
  3. When cloud computing began appearing on the Internet is hard to determine, due to its very nature, but it was on the Internet by 2000.
  4. The Internet of Things (IoT) (which have also been called Smart Objects, Things, or Devices) began appearing on the Internet around 1999. This article describes its expansion. This article summarizes the advantages and benefits of IPv6 in the deployment of IoT. More than you may want to know about the ways in which the IoT is expanding the Internet can be found in this Internet of Things Connectivity Binge article.
  5. Precursors to the Industrial IoT (IIoT) began appearing in 1962 under various names. The IIoT (and a related concept Industry 4.0) began appearing on the Internet in 2006. More than you may want to know about terms associated with IoT and IIoT can be found in this A-to-Z Guide To the Internet of Things article.
  6. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) began appearing on the Internet around 2008. See this article for a description of its ongoing impact on the Internet.
  7. Smart Cities. Both IPv6 and the IoT are essential enablers during the deployment of smart cities. See the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Additional Information about IoT and Smart Cities article for additional information.

While all of these have significantly expanded the capabilities of the Internet, only IPv6 has changed the process of interconnecting computers together to form networks along with the process of interconnecting networks around the world to expand the Internet.

IPv4 is over forty years old. This critical part of the Internet’s infrastructure is nearing its end of useful life, as the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARINissued the last remaining IPv4 addresses in its free pool in September 2015. This won’t have a noticeable effect on the way most individuals use the Internet, but the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses and the effort to deploy IPv6 are both affecting the way United States Federal departments and agencies, state and local government organizations, academic institutions and commercial businesses use the Internet, as described at length by this article.

The breadth and depth of the impact of IPv4 address exhaustion on the Internet is described in this article while the impact of IPv6 deployment on the Internet is described: 

Where to Begin

Whatever your area of interest in the on-going world-wide effort to deploy IPv6, please take a moment to skim through the Table of Contents of this Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Comments (RFC) 9386 IPv6 Deployment Status document. Some of the numerous topics discussed therein may contain information you will find of interest. You might also be interested in the Internet Society’s (ISOC) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on IPv6 Adoption and IPv4 exhaustion. This article from the Wikipedia website also provides an overview of the status of IPv6 deployment around the world by country. They are all being actively maintained, so you might want to review them occasionally.

If you are of the opinion that you don’t need to deploy IPv6 on your network (or, at least don’t need to deploy it anytime soon), please take a look at the IPv6 Not Needed Here!?! article in the General Information section. You might also want to read this Why Doesn’t the Internet Migrate Entirely to IPv6? article.

If you are just starting to think about deploying IPv6 or in the early phases of a deployment, please take a look at the Before you Begin and Overview of Process articles in the Deployment section.

Additional IPv6 Knowledge Base highlights include:

  1. IPv6 Training and Learning – free and commercial books and training sources
  2. Overview of Lessons Learned Deploying IPv6 - a collection of lessons learned by those who have already deployed IPv6
  3. IPv6 and IoT Security Best-practices – answers to and solutions for IPv6 security concerns
  4. Where to Get IPv6 Addresses – who to ask and what to ask them
  5. IPv6 and IoT Networking Standards – current networking standards and organizations that maintain them.

IPv6 and the Internet of Things (IoT)

IPv6 is an enabler of the IoT, as this article on an Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) website explains.

DREN and IPv6

DREN started supporting IPv6 in June, 2003, when it was designated as the first Department of Defense (DoD) IPv6 pilot network by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Networks and Information Integration)/DoD Chief Information Officer [ASD(NII)/DoD CIO]. By July, 2005, the entire DREN wide-area network was routinely supporting end-to-end IPv6 traffic, sites were supporting IPv6 along with IPv4, and selected applications were IPv6 enabled. DREN has provided its users with servers, services and client applications using IPv6 since then. During the worldwide deployment of IPv6, DREN will continue providing a secure, high-performance IPv6 infrastructure with legacy support for IPv4.

To contribute an article to the IPv6 Knowledge Base, or to correct/update an existing article, please contact ipv6-team [at] dren.mil.