IPv6

The IP addresses you’ve been used to seeing for the past several decades are IPv4. They’re 32-bit numbers and look like this―23.217.138.110. Familiar-looking, right? Well, here’s the issue—we’ve been running out of them for a while. Think about everything that uses IP addresses these days—doorbells, cameras, lights, locks, thermostats, etc. If it’s called “smart”, it uses an IP address. At one time, it probably looked like IPv4 would accommodate all our needs. Why wouldn’t it? It can handle well over 4 billion addresses. That should be enough, right? Not so, according to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). In 1998, they knew it wouldn’t be enough. So, they created IPv6, which uses 128-bit addressing. It supports approximately 340 trillion trillion addresses (that’s 2 to the 128th power for you math geeks). IPv6 uses 8 groups of numbers, unlike the 4 groups for IPv4. And instead of each number being separated by a period, IPv6 separates those 8 groups by colons. Here’s what they look like― 2004:0db9:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7368.