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Embedded Systems September 2000 Vol13_10

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STEPHEN HARPSTER Ready or Not: 1Pv6 is Coming The World Wide Web is no longe1' just workstations, servers, and PCs. It's now also PDAs, cell phones, and automobiles. The old protocols of the Internet cannot handle these millions of devices. IPv6 is coming and you're going to have to be ready. he Internet, and many smaller, private networks, use the Internet Protocol version 4, IPv4, as the network layer upon which other pro- tocols, such as TCP, reside. Developed in the late '70s, it became apparent by the early '90s that IPv4 was reaching the end of its use- ful life. The Internet Software Consortium's annual survey of Domain Name Servers indicates incredible growth on the Internet. The latest numbers represent an annual growth rate of over 65%, and that includes only those sys- tems that are publicly advertised. Private nodes are not included in this count. In fact, it was the fear of running out of IP addresses that first prompted the look into a new version of IP. Changes The need for a new set of Inte rnet protocols was first described in RFC 1287, "Towards the Future Internet Architecture," published in December 1991.1 By early 1996, the first proposed standards for IP version 6, IPv6, were published. Four major changes were made in version 6: • Larger address space • Simplified header • Flows • Authentication and privacy Larger address space The most highly publicized change is the larger address space. IPv4 addresses are 32 bits in length. The number of connected networks has continuously doubled Embedded Systems Programming SEPTEMBER 2000 95

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