ZeroTier has an interesting and amusing look at IPv6 addresses.
At one time, there were a lot of dire predictions about running out of Internet addresses. It seemed clear that given the number of addresses available with the IPv4 scheme, they would soon all be in use. The increasing use of Network Address Translation (NAT) provided relief, as each single address was then able to provide Internet access to multiple devices behind a router.
However, NAT only delayed the inevitable for IPv4, and IPv6 was planned as its replacement. While there are only four billion IPv4 addresses, IPv6 allows for up to 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 addresses. Which should be plenty, even once the Internet expands to other planets.
Acceptance and deployment of IPv6 has been steady, but there are a few hurdles to overcome. One of those is the IPv6 numbering scheme itself.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the IPv4 scheme, in which any device on the Internet is identified by a sequence of four numbers, like this:
123.456.789.123. A full IPv6 address looks like this:
adde:efbe:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0001. That’s a lot of digits to remember.
Luckily, the IPv6 developers invented ways to abbreviate IPv6 addresses, so that they typically look more like these:
But while those abbreviated numbers are shorter, they are difficult to understand. The ZeroTier post explains why.
NetworkWorld has a fun and informative infographic that compares IPv4 and IPv6.