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Technical and Economic Assessment of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) - Discussion Draft

July 16, 2004

This paper focuses on one of the communications protocols that lie at the heart of the Internet — the Internet Protocol (IP), which enables data and other traffic to traverse the Internet and to arrive at the desired destination. IP not only provides a standardized “envelope” for the information sent, but it also contains “headers” that provide addressing, routing, and message-handling information that enables a message to be directed to its final destination over the various media that comprise the Internet.

IPv6 offers a number of potential advantages over IPv4, most notably a massive increase in the number of Internet addresses. Demand for such addresses will increase as more and more of the world’s population request Internet access. While there is considerable disagreement about whether, to what extent, and at what pace, such demand will develop, IPv6 would provide the address space to accommodate whatever level of demand does emerge.