Every device on the Internet uses an identifier called an IP (Internet Protocol) address. These unique addresses provide the means for each device to locate and communicate with other Internet-connected devices. This includes personal computers, servers, websites, mobile devices, connected cameras, and more.
IPv4 addressing structure has been the standard for many years, but it’s limited to around 4 billion usable addresses. As such, it’s unable to sustain the expansive growth of the Internet ecosystem. Consequently, next-generation IPv6 protocol was developed to replace IPv4, as IPv4 addresses reach depletion. IPv6 provides virtually unlimited address availability and allows the Internet to grow well into the future.
IPv4-based networks are expected to co-exist with IPv6-based networks for many years. In most cases, your Internet-connected devices and applications will detect and use IPv6 without requiring additional action.
Since IPv4 and IPv6 will co-exist for a long time, there are several methods to manage the transition and extend the life of existing infrastructure:
- Dual Stack allows IPv4 and IPv6 to co-exist in the same devices and networks.
- Tunneling allows IPv6 packets to be transmitted over IPv4 infrastructure - and vice-versa.
- Translation allows IPv6-only devices to communicate with IPv4-only devices.
You’ll be happy to know the slow rollout of IPv6 over a period of years will bring no immediate impact to your AT&T Internet service. You’ll still be able to access your email, favorite Internet websites, and content as you do today for quite some time. You will only need to be ready when you attempt to access Internet content that is available by IPv6 only. To find out if a website is available by IPv4, IPv6, or both, visit our Web site compatibility tool