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OGCIO

IPv6

An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a unique identifier assigned to devices for communication over a network. In the Internet, every computer or computing device is assigned an IP address in order to interact with others. Currently, Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is mainly used for the assignment of the IP addresses in the Internet. However, IPv4 provides a limited number of Internet addresses. With the rapid growth of Internet usage, the address space of IPv4 will become exhausted.

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) has an immense address space and is commonly seen as the solution to the IPv4 address exhaustion issue. IPv6 was formalized in 1998. In the last decade, the IT industry and the academic has put a lot of effort in the development of IPv6.

Transition to IPv6 will involve changes to the supporting systems and infrastructure on a global scale. It is expected that IPv4 will not be replaced instantaneously, but IPv4 and IPv6 are going to co-exist on the Internet for some time.

The following sections provide basic understanding of the IPv4 exhaustion issue, highlights of the IPv6 activities in Hong Kong and reference to some IPv6 information portals.