At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a panel of Internet Protocol technology experts discussed IPv6 and the benefits of having mobile devices use it instead of IPv4. First, IPv6 allows for a near-limitless number of addresses. Because of this, Network Address Translation (NAT), which is currently used with IPv4 to let multiple devices share one IP address, is not officially supported in IPv6. (NAT is not supposed to be implemented on IPv6 networks at all.) Without NAT, which increases latency by a few milliseconds because the network switch must translate between public and private IP addresses, quick point-to-point communication becomes possible. Plus, a device doesn’t have to keep telling the NAT layer that it is still connected and waiting for data, so the battery will not drain as much when actively or passively accessing the mobile network.
This is especially important for services that convey video or sound in real time, like Google Talk video chat, Skype, and VoLTE. When NAT is placed in between, it presents minor lag to the service because of so-called “keep-alive” packets and the requisite bouncing along multiple Network through NAT. The impact could be magnified with low quality network technologies like DSL and CDMA2000 EV-DO.
There are a few potential pitfalls. Every system may need a firewall program with an intrusion detection system to prevent (and notify of) direct attacks because every device would be directly accessible from the global Internet. Anti-virus checking of downloading would become more important because malware that connects to remote systems would have an easier time of connecting directly and maintaining a permanent connection.
In any event, the advantages of IPv6 are too important to neglect. That said, very few cellular networks these days allow for IPv6 access (even if they assign IPv6 addresses). Especially, LTE systems in North america and European countries allow IPv6 access, and T-Mobile USA offers fall IPv6 support on its network with select devices. Many wireline networks for home and office Internet service now provide IPv6 support through “dual-stack” arrangements. If you have access IPv6, you should try it out. It’s essential to get used to operating through IPv6 and building services that operate well over IPv6, since we will soon have to change over entirely to IPv6.