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Legal tech: What is IPv6 and how does it affect you?

By Peter LaSorsa I know the title of this article sounds like a germ that may overtake the country but relax it’s something less threatening but of importance nonetheless.  Before we start with IPv6 we need to discuss IPv4.  Everyone is on the Internet and logging into your computer from home or work is seamless. Behind the scenes, what really takes place is a number known as an Internet Protocol or “IP” address identifies the sender and receiver of information being sent over the Internet. Currently the industry standard for obtaining the IP address is the IPv4 protocol, however that standard will be changing in June 2011.  The reason for the change is that the IPv4 protocol is running out of IP addresses—much like with the explosion of cellular phones, the wireless wavelength bands are being overtaken. The solution to this problem is IPv6. IPv6 will give another 340 trillion IP addresses and serve to be the new standard. Why should you care and how does this affect you? Well in the future you will need to upgrade at a minimum your router or firewall or both. Now the good news is the future may be 2014 or so. There are several reasons not to run out and purchase IPv6 routers and firewalls at this time. First, many Internet Service Providers don’t have the proper technology in place to offer IPv6 services so your IPv6 router or firewall would not work. Second, even though IPv6 is rolling out in June 2011, the old IPv4 will still work and no immediate change is needed. Lastly, in many cases a software patch may be all that is required to upgrade your router or firewall. So why do you care at this point?  Well, since all of you utilize the Internet, you should have some basic knowledge of what is taking place behind the scenes and how it could affect you.  And if you are planning on upgrading your systems in the next 6 months to a year, you should be aware of this new protocol and make sure you are not purchasing old technology. Just for your information another advantage to IPv6 is added security, and increased performance.  Additionally, network traffic control will improve—faster for you.  And if you utilize Voice Over Internet Protocol “VOIP”, you will need to switch to IPv6 sooner than everyone else, but again your service provider will take the lead and give you information when that time comes. In conclusion, knowing what IPv6 is now should be a benefit so when the buzzwords start flying down the road, you have a good idea of what is going on and why. Peter LaSorsa can be reached at lasorsalaw.com. He also publishes a blog at www.illinoissexualharassmentattorneyblog.com
Posted on May 5, 2011 by Chris Bonjean
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