Is IPv6 Addressing Easier than IPv4 Addressing??

Every existing network implementor and administrator today is disadvantaged by having years of experience with addressing IPv4-style. In the IPv6 workshops I’ve been involved with, grasping IPv6 addressing is usually slow for attendees who can rattle-off IPv4 addresses.

But are IPv6 addresses really that difficult? Once the Internet community gets past the initial paradigms with IPv6 addressing, IPv6 addressing may actually look easier. When the community reaches the point when students learn IPv6 addressing first, I think the students may cringe at having to handle “legacy” IPv4 addresses.

It is easier to subnet along hexadecimal boundaries than octet boundaries. It is easier to visualize how to split-up 16-bit address space when one knows each digit is 4-bits than when one has to split-up an octet. Which is easier: Determining that the 12-bit boundary of an “IPv6-style” 16-bit address space is after the third hex digit (subnet mask: FFF0) or that the 12-bit boundary of two octets is really subnetted something like “255.128”?

A complaint I often hear is that there is no way anyone will remember an IPv6-address. There is some truth to this. I would challenge any network guru to recide the MAC address of the 10/100/1000 interface of their laptop computer. However, if one uses creative addressing formats for well-known network addresses (such as “fa1” for the first ethernet interface on their router, it isn’t hard to remember an IPv6 address. I can still remember the full IPv6 address I set for a Linux box I had two year ago.

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