What Happened to IPv5?

Developers skipped IPv5 for the less limited IPv6

This article explains why IPv5 never became an official internet protocall.

What is IPv5?

An internet protocol is the set of rules that govern how information packets are transmitted over a network. IPv5 is a version of Internet Protocol (IP) that was never formally adopted as a standard. The "v5" stands for version 5 of the Internet Protocol. Computer networks use version 4, typically called IPv4, or a newer version: IPv6.

Limitations of IPv5

IPv5 never became an official protocol due to a variety of limitations in it. What is known as IPv5 started out under a different name: ​Internet Stream Protocol, or simply ST.

The ST/IPv5 internet protocol was a means of streaming video and voice data that Apple, NeXT, and Sun Microsystems developed, and it was experimental. ST was effective at transferring data packets on specific frequencies while maintaining communication.

It would eventually serve as a foundation for the development of technologies like Voice over IP, or VoIP, which appears in communication apps like Skype and Zoom.

Why 32-Bit Addressing Was an Issue for IPv5

With the development of IPv6 and its promise of nearly unlimited IP addresses and a fresh start for the protocol, IPv5 never transitioned to public use in large part because of its 32-bit limitations.

IPv5 used IPv4's 32-bit addressing, which eventually became a problem. The format of IPv4 addresses is the ###.###.###.### format, which is made up of four numerical octets (a unit of digital information in computing consisting of eight bits), with each set ranging from 0 to 255 and separated by periods. This format allowed for 4.3 billion internet addresses; however, the rapid growth of the internet soon exhausted this number of unique addresses.

By 2011, the last remaining blocks of IPv4 addresses were allocated. With IPv5 using the same 32-bit addressing, it would have suffered from the same limitation.

So, IPv5 was abandoned before ever becoming a standard, and the world moved on to IPv6.

Advantages of IPv6

IPv6 was developed in the 1990s to solve the addressing limitation, and commercial deployment of this new internet protocol began in 2006. IPv6 is a 128-bit protocol, and it provides more IP addresses.

The format of IPv6 is a series of eight 4-character hexadecimal numbers; each of these represents 16 bits, for a total of 128 bits. The characters in an IPv6 address are numbers from 0 to 9 and letters from A to F.

What Is an IPv6 Address?

An example of an IPv6 address is 2001:0db8:0000:0000:1234:0ace:6006:001e. IPv6 has the capacity to offer trillions upon trillions of IP addresses (as many as 3.4x1038 addresses) with little chance of running out.

The format of an IPv6 address is long and often contains numerous zeros. Leading zeros in the address can be suppressed to shorten addresses. For example, the above IPv6 address may be expressed as the much shorter 2001:db8::1234:ace:6006:1e. Also, when there is a series of more than one 4-character set that consists of all zeros, these may be replaced with the "::" symbol.

Only one :: symbol can appear in an IPv6 address.

  • What is the difference between IPv4 and IPv6?

    IPv4 is an older protocol that only supports 32-bit addresses, which means there are far fewer (only 4 billion) IP addresses available. IPv6 was necessary to accommodate the growing number of devices connecting to the internet.

  • How do I fix an “IPv6 No Network Access” error?

    To fix the “IPv6 No Network Access” error, restart the device, restart the router and modem, update the device's operating system, check for network device driver updates, and upgrade the router's firmware. If you still have problems, run Windows Troubleshooter and reset the IPv6 settings.

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