Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol designed to increase the number of IP addresses available.
Every device on the Internet is assigned an IP address to define its identity and location. With the rapid growth of the Internet, it became evident that far more addresses were needed than the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) address space could provide. In response, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) developed the IPv6 protocol.
The biggest advantage of IPv6 over IPv4 is the number of IP addresses available:
- IPv4 addresses are 32 bits long, which means there are 4.3 billion addresses.
- IPv6 addresses are 128 bits long, which means there are 340 undecillion addresses.
IPv6 addresses are represented as eight groups of four digits separated by colons.
For example: 2001:0db8:85a3:0042:1000:8a2e:0370:7334.
By comparison, an IPv4 IP address is written as four groups of numbers separated by periods.
For example: 188.8.131.52.