IP Addresses & significance of IPv6

IP Address aka Internet Protocol Address is understood as an exclusive number all information technology devices use, which further provides identification to them and allows them to communicate with each other through TCP/IP based computer networks.

IPv4 has been the primary internet protocol since the inception IP addresses, but with each passing day, huge numbers of computers, servers, mobiles & other IT devices are connecting to internet, which has created a situation where IP addresses of IPv4 are running low.

Due to the depletion of IPv4 at critical level, and with booming trends of smart phones- nowadays, it has become essential to have mobile apps that support IPv6.

IPv6 is evolved from Ipv4, and it follows 128-bit address format, which is represented in hexadecimal system, unlike the numerical sequence of 32-bit IPv4 addresses.

IPv6 resolves the problem of lack of IP space as it offers larger addressing space than IPv4. Multicast addressing is expanded and simplified in IPv6, and thus, it offers additional optimization for delivery of internet services.

Why Experts Advise to have IPv6 ready Mobile-Apps

Because of the problem that ISPs are running out of IPv4 space, experts advise to have IPv6 ready apps, as this will solve the problem of lack of address space. Recently, Apple also came up with a new policy whereby all iOS apps must support IPv6 only networking, which is enforcing software engineers to design apps to be ready for IPv6. To let your apps be ready for IPv6, some transition mechanisms play important role as they aid transition of apps into IPv6 occur smoothly. Some of the deployment-factors that you need to pay heed upon are:

  • Handling Networks with only IPv4:

There are networks that still come under category of IPv4 only, and software engineers need to make sure that their apps continue to function properly in IPv4 only networks

  • Handling Networks with only IPv6:

For ISPs that have already run out of IPv4 space, Carrier Grade NAT and only IPv6 are the two possible options. In such cases, IPv6 is used as a transport layer for IPv4, and for ensuring best experience to your customers, mobile apps need to accept IPv6 natively

  • Handling Networks that have Dual Stack:

If network has enough IPv4-space, then ISPs will support both; IPv4 and IPv6 connectivity, which is dual-stack and considered as best transition mechanism

Once deployment is aptly done, you need to make sure that apps do not crash with 128 bits longer text strings of IPv6. It is also important to make sure that your apps are able to understand header fields, URLs and databases in IPv6 format. Testing mobile-apps over IPv6 will ensure that your app is IPv6 ready.

How to test your Mobile Apps over IPv6

To test the functioning of your database schema over 128-bit IP address, or to check functioning of your OS over dual stacking, or managing IP geolocation from IPv4 to IPv6, it is essential to test working of your app over IPv6. The process is quite easy and if you use public website, you can easily use tools like internet.nl, which efficiently tests your site for IPv6 connectivity. Microsoft’s checkv4.exe Utility is also quite effective in testing windows applications that use socket level programming. Such tools are effective in providing exact details and recommendations for IPv6 ready mobile apps.

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