29th April 2022

You may or may not know, that the way we technically access the internet is changing. If you’ve heard of IP addressing, you may have heard of IPv4 and the newest version, IPv6. Mean anything to you? Well, whether it does or doesn’t, we’ll be explaining more about IP addresses and how a CG-NAT network works, simply explaining the future of internet access.

Your devices and internet connection won’t be affected by any network changes related to these, but if you have any questions, just contact our friendly customer services team on 023 9300 9300 who will be more than happy to help answer your network queries.

what is an IP address?

An IP address, otherwise known as an ‘Internet Protocol Address’ is a numerical code that identifies a network or device on the internet. It works similar to a telephone number – when you contact someone, the phone number identifies them. IP addresses work in a similar way, but for online.

What is a local IP Address: Every single device that is connected to the internet in your home has a local IP address. It is critical in enabling the device to connect to the world wide web and for the Internet to know where to send the data, or know which device is requesting information.

What is a public IP Address: A public IP address is given to you by your internet service provider, like Sky, toob, Virgin etc, and introduces you to the wider Internet to ensure the information you are searching for online, can find you.

what is IPv4?

IPv4 is the fourth version of the Internet protocol and has been in place since 1983. It has been providing us with IP addresses for nearly 40 years. IPv4 routes most of today’s internet traffic, however the global IPv4 address supply is exhausted. IPv4 consists of a 32-bit numerical address space and limits the world to 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses. Whilst this sounds huge, the widespread usage of addresses from the amount of connected devices across the world, has depleted this exponentially.

what is IPv6?

IPv6 is the next generation of Internet Protocol. IPv6 functions similarly to IPv4 but has a 128-bit IP address that should last the world much longer, due to the amount of individual addresses it can produce. It also includes letters, unlike IPv4 which is solely numerical.

IPv6 has a better response time, efficient packet processing and improved security; futureproofing IP addressing for decades to come. It’s worth noting though, that with IPv6, only IPv6 supported websites can be accessed, and most are, like Amazon, Netflix, etc. It’s mainly much older sites that are unsupported.

what is CG-NAT? and what does it have to do with IPv4 and IPv6?

With most of our devices still using IPv4, we can use something called CG-NAT, known as ‘Carrier Grade NAT’ or ‘Carrier Grade Network Address Translation’ to help us with staying on an IPv4 network as IPv6 adoption grows.

CG-NAT is used in IPv4 residential network designed to basically pool out and share public IP addresses among residential areas. CG-NAT futureproofs IPv4’s and solves the IPv4 shortage to maintain the existing telecom infrastructure, simply by sharing out a public IPv4 address to a number of houses, rather than you having your own individual IPv4 address. Although CG-NAT doesn’t resolve the IPv4 address exhaustion, it is a necessary interim solution whilst the world transitions to IPv6.

This simple, whistle-stop guide to network addressing should help you to understand the differences between IPv4 and IPv6 and how a CG-NAT network can offset the IP balance in the interim.

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