IPv6 Technical Reference

The current Internet has fueled significant innovation and growth in network computing. To support this growth and the demand for more collaborative communication experiences, the current version of the Internet Protocol (IP), called IP Version 4 (IPv4), is being replaced with a new standard.

IPv4 is an agreed-upon set of protocols, or rules, that allow computers to communicate with each other by specifying the format of packets and the addressing scheme.

The new version of IP, called IP version 6 (IPv6), performs the same functions as IPv4 but resolves unanticipated IPv4 design issues.

As a core networking protocol in the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating systems, IPv6 serves as one of two Internet protocols that enable computers that are running Microsoft Windows operating systems to communicate on intranets and over the Internet.

This subject describes how IPv6 relates to other networking protocols, the functions that IPv6 performs, how IPv6 addresses are structured and assigned, how IPv6 packets are structured and routed, and how IPv6 can interoperate with IPv4.

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