Last June, many top websites and ISPs participated in a 24-hour test of the IPv6 protocol to see the impact of running dual TCP/IP stacks, IPv4 and IPv6 together would have upon their networks. This joint venture, known as World IPv6 Day, was heralded as a resounding success as customers switched enabled IPv6 on their home and business hardware and easily accessed Google, Facebook, Yahoo and more than 1,000 participating websites.

This year’s World IPv6 Day is for keeps. It’s going on and staying on.

So what does this mean for you? You probably won’t even notice. According to Wikipedia:

IPv6 “allows for many more devices and users on the internet as well as extra flexibility in allocating addresses and efficiency for routing traffic. It also eliminates the primary need for network address translation (NAT), which gained widespread deployment as an effort to alleviate IPv4 address exhaustion. IPv6 also implements additional features not present in IPv4. It simplifies aspects of address assignment (stateless address autoconfiguration), network renumbering and router announcements when changing Internet connectivity providers.”

For the everyday user, IPv6 promotes the growth and expansion of the internet. The last top-level block of free IPv4 addresses was assigned in February 2011. With the addition of mobile applications and numerous new websites each day, there was a definite need for bandwidth. IPv6 supplies the internet community with … get this … 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses. That should keep us busy for awhile. :)

Even with IPv6 permanently turned on, IPv4 will still be in use and rightfully so. From a security standpoint, do you really want your home devices to have routable addressing that is accessible from anywhere in the world? Out of convenience some might say “yes,” but if you can get outside access to your hardware at home, so can hackers and anyone else with a lot of time and patience. The bulk of home and office users will continue to firewall themselves from the rest of the world. If someone needs to access to their home-base, services like LogMeIn and GoToMyPC make sense due to their layers of security.

Want to learn more about IPv6? Check out this helpful video from PBS: