The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority has approved the initial draft guidelines for Internet Protocol version 6 which paves the way for distribution of addresses based on the new protocol.
IANA officials late Thursday assigned the initial ranges of the address spaces for IP version 6 that will be distributed by regional Internet registries. Those are organizations that handle the deployment of Internet address space.
IANA said distribution of version 6 addresses will be handled in the same manner as version 4 currently in place.
The major benefit of the new version is the fact it is a 128-bit system where the current version is only 32-bit and limits the number of IP addresses to several billion. The new version will allow IP address to expand by many billion more. That’s increasingly important as more devices are becoming Internet-enabled.
Every computer or device connected to the Internet requires an IP address, although Internet providers customarily recycle the same set of numbers for dial-up customers since they are not constantly connected.
There are still several issues that must be resolved to ensure version 6 addresses will be handled accurately. Work must be done to ensure IP version 6 is compatible with the existing domain name system which translates domain names into IP addresses. That work is expected to be complete in a few months.