Paper review: IP Next Generation Overview

Reviewer: Kenneth Chin

This paper is basically giving an overview as to why it needs IPv6, what enhancement is done to IPv6 and how to ensure a smooth transistion from IPv4 to IPv6. In fact, the major reason for the emergence of IPv6 is that the number of usable IP addresses that IPv4 can support is inadequate to accommodate the exponentially increasing number of hosts. Therefore, in IPv6, it supports 128-bit IP addresses, which is 4 times more than the 32-bit IP address in IPv4. Essentially this solves the scalability problem. Obviously, IPv4 is not good enough for different kinds of services, therefore it is necessary to add some functionalities that facilities those services. For example, in IPv6, it differentiates unicast addresses, multicast addresses and anycast addresses. Besides, it standardize the IP header format and support unlimited extensions. What's more is that, it supports some sort of quality-of-service (QoS) capabilities in the IP level so that the upper level is gauranteed with the QoS requested. Finally, IPv6 also addressed security issues by supporting algorithm-independent authentication, integrity and confidentiality capabilities.

As what I have said before, this paper is just giving an overview of IPv6. However, it did a really great job in pulling dispersed information together.

Basically, the main idea of this paper is that IPv6 is a need. However, the architects of IPv6 must ensure backward-compatibility such that IPv4 and IPv6 are still interoperable and coexist. There should be as little hassle as possible for users and developers to use the new protocol. This means that a smooth transition is the top issue.

This paper is good as an overview, so I would give it a 3. However, if one really wants to dig into the detail of IPv6, he might need to look at some of the references recommended.

Something I would like to mention is that it seems that IP has more functionalities than before, and some of the functionalities might not be needed or should not be implemented at that level. Therefore, when it comes to designing IPngng, designers should be taking away those unnecessary functionalities and put in useful ones. In the mean time, it is hard to say which functionality is not useful, as time goes by, the world would decide who stay who leave.