Why do I need IPv6? Where can I learn from Microsoft about IPv6 for Windows? (Your questions on IPv6)

This came in today via email (thanks, Brin)… Clip art from Office Online

"Why do I need IPv6? Is there more about IPv6 available from Microsoft? Is there anything I need to do to support IPv6 in Windows Vista or Windows 7?"

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is (Wikipedia tells us) "the next-generation Internet Layer protocol for packet-switched internetworks and the Internet." It’s the next generation following IPv4, the addressing Internet Protocol used today.

Although not widely used yet, it’s expected that IPv6 (with a 128-bit address) will soon come into its own: some estimate that we will run out of the just over 4 billion 32-bit IPv4 addresses in the next few years.  As the number of Internet-connected devices grows, IPv6 should alleviate the shortage of IP addresses with IPv4.

Just thinking: with all the talk of the US digital television transition and my experience on daylight saving time changes in the US and Canada, should there be an international transition date for IPv6 usage?  My friend, Paul, has been eager to look for a new project to take on… perhaps this is one such customer awareness effort.

Back to the present.

Fortunately, as noted on the IPv6 for Microsoft Windows: Frequently Asked Questions page, both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 (which stem from a common architecture) support IPv4 and IPv6 via the Next Generation TCP/IP Stack in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. (Please note that’s not ST:TNG.)

Support for IPv6 is also included in Windows 7 and similar to what you’ll find in Window Vista and Windows Server 2008, in addition to the Direct Access feature, which allows you to connect to secure networks (like your office) via the Internet without having to VPN into the network. As noted on the page, "Direct Access is that is uses IPv6 over To keep data safer as it travels public networks, Direct Access uses IPv6-over-IPsec to encrypt communications transmitted across the Internet."

We also provide IPv6 implementations for many older Windows products still in wide use, such as Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later, and Windows CE .NET 4.1 or later. Older versions of Windows (Windows 2000, Windows 98) are not supported.

You’ll find a number of technical overviews, articles, deployment and development resources and webcasts available on the aforementioned IPv6 for Microsoft Windows: Frequently Asked Questions page.


Tags: Microsoft, your questions, IPv6, Internet, Security, Windows 7, Windows Vista.

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