IPv6, driving the Internet of Things

By the end of 2020, some 25 billion devices will be connected to the internet via the Internet of Things (IoT). To ensure it works efficiently, we need the new internet protocol IPv6, the successor to IPv4.

 

IPv6 has been considered the successor to the previous IPv4 address system for some time now. This new version presents a number of advantages, crucially the increased availability of addresses. Whilst little used thus far, IPv6 is set for wider usage due to the Internet of Things (IoT), for which it presents a number of considerable advantages.

 

1. Evolutionary

The existing IPv4 addressing system provides enough addresses for just 4.3 billion devices. With the boom in the Internet of Things (IoT) this is now inadequate. According to Gartner some 25 billion objects will be connected to the internet by 2020. IPv6 will, according to them, provide the space for 340 sextillion addresses. It will therefore be of vital importance for IoT device manufacturers. This new protocol effectively guarantees that the devices will continue to be able to work on the internet.

 

2. Easy to use

The lack of IP addresses under the IPv4 system is a problem. There have been attempts to remedy this via Network Address Translation (NAT) and other solutions, but these are not reliable and create an additional burden of work for the designers of IoT products. IPv6 does away with the need for such solutions: IPv6 allows many more devices to be interconnected via any network.

 

3. Cost-effective

IoT devices require a long life cycle and autonomy, which means that they can only consume a small amount of power and cannot handle large packets of network data. For such applications, IPv6 can be compressed into small network packets of just a few dozen octets thanks to 6LoWPAN (IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks). Through better energy efficiency, low power devices also have complete network connectivity.

 

4. Secure

The Internet of Things also presents new security problems. Fortunately IPv6 is more secure than IPv4. It uses end-to-end encryption with IPSec, unlike IPv4, which only provides security via VPN (virtual private network). The use of Secure Neighbor Discovery (SEND) also prevents attackers from interfering with communications between IoT devices.

 

Do you want to work more efficiently with the Internet of Things? For over 15 years now, Orange has been shaping the future of the Internet of Things and, in conjunction with its specialist partners, offers solutions to suit your business. 

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