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IPv6 is the next generation of the Internet Protocol (IP) address standard that will supplement and eventually replace IPv4, the protocol most Internet services use today.

Read "The State of IPv6 Deployment 2017" for the latest information about IPv6.

Why It Matters

An IP address is essentially a postal address for each and every Internet-connected device. Without one, websites would not know where to send the information each time you perform a search or try to access a website.

The world officially ran out of the 4.3 billion available IPv4 addresses in February 2011. Yet, hundreds of millions of people are still to come online, many of whom will do so in the next few years. IPv6 is what will allow them to come online, providing enough addresses (2128 to be exact) for everyone and all of their various devices.

A lack of Internet addresses would have caused many problems; your favorite web programmes would slow down, computers would find it more difficult to communicate with one another, and your privacy could be compromised because it will be hard to tell the difference between you and another computer user down the street.

To allow the Internet to continue to grow and spread across the world, implementing IPv6 is necessary.

Our Work

The Internet Society is highly involved in all aspects of IPv6, from its ongoing technical work in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to increasing its real-world deployment with the help of our Deploy360 Programme. Programmes bridge the gap between open Internet standards processes and final adoption of those standards by the global operations community.

Organized by the Internet Society, and building on the successful one-day World IPv6 Day event held in 2011, World IPv6 Launch in 2012 represented a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6. Major Internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world  permanently enabled IPv6 for their products and services. Ongoing World IPv6 Launch measurements help show that IPv6 is growing rapidly, and the only path forward for a sustainable Internet.

Deploy360 provides hands on, technical deployment information to network operators responsible for implementing new technologies and standards on their own networks. Deploy360 currently covers not only IPv6, but also DNSSEC, Securing BGP, Anti-Spoofing and TLS for Applications.