Windows 8 to come with IPv6 support
In a new Building Windows 8 blog post, Microsoft detailed its IPv6 support for the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Since Windows 8 is designed to ensure connectivity across all types of network configurations, adding IPv6 support only makes sense.
Microsoft, along with other technology companies, has been working on the deployment of IPv6 to ensure that end-users continue to have high-quality Internet access, despite the performance and connectivity limitations brought about by IPv4 address exhaustion.
The most immediate benefit of IPv6 is that it provides more than 3×1038 IP addresses, enough for every person to have billions of addresses all to themselves, or enough to give every star in the universe a unique address. This will allow the Internet to grow and evolve. IPv6 also provides for many security and performance improvements, like built-in support for IPsec. (What happened to IPv5, you ask?
Upgrading the entire Internet to IPv6 isn’t something that can be done instantly. It has taken many years to get to where we are today, and we still have many years of work to do. Currently, around 1% of devices can connect to the Internet using only IPv6.
During the transition period, most networks will fall into three categories:
* IPv4-only networks. This is probably what you have today, as most Internet Service Providers have only just started rolling out IPv6 support. Many devices that connect to the Internet might only support IPv4 as well.
* IPv4 and IPv6 networks (dual-stack). This means your Internet Service Provider is configuring your PC with both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. This model is common in cable and dial-up networks that are transitioning.
* IPv6-only networks. This means your Internet Service Provider is configuring your device with only IPv6 addresses. Because many websites are still only on the IPv4 Internet, ISPs must use a translation device to allow access from your IPv6 network to the IPv4 Internet. This device is called a NAT64. This mode is becoming popular in the mobile environment, because having only one kind of Internet Protocol between the mobile device and the operator’s infrastructure is simpler to deploy and cheaper than a dual-stack configuration. Also, mobile operators are feeling the IPv4 address exhaustion pinch most severely. Here is a basic diagram of this configuration:
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