` What happened to IPv5? - Interlir networks marketplace
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What happened to IPv5?

Today, we dive into a digital enigma – the case of the missing Internet Protocol version, IPv5, and how its story intertwines with IPv6’s current challenges.

IPv4: The Foundation

To appreciate the IPv5 narrative, we must begin with IPv4. Introduced in 1981, IPv4 has been the backbone of the internet, providing us with 4.3 billion unique addresses (IPv4 – 123.45.67.89). But, with the internet’s explosive growth, this number proved insufficient by the late 80s【19†source】.

The IPv5 Experiment

While many expected a sequential jump to IPv5, it never materialized in the public domain. Instead, IPv5 was the unofficial name for the Internet Stream Protocol, an experimental system for streaming voice and video. It was a pathfinder, not a fully-fledged successor to IPv4, and it included the number ‘5’ in its packet headers, hence the confusion.

FeatureIPv4IPv6IPv5 (ST/ST2)
Address Example123.45.67.892001:db8::ff00:42:8329N/A
Address Space4.3 billion addresses340 undecillion addressesN/A
Introduction1981Standardized in 2017, introduced in 1995Experiment in the 1970s-1990s
Primary UseGeneral internet connectivityDesigned to replace IPv4, but slow adoptionExperimental streaming of voice/video
Current StatusStill widely used, but addresses exhaustedGradually being adopted, coexists with IPv4Never widely deployed

Enter IPv6

IPv6 (e.g., 2001:db8::ff00:42:8329) emerged as the actual successor with a staggering 340 undecillion addresses, addressing the limitations of IPv4 and adding improvements in efficiency, security, and performance. It was introduced in 1995 and became a standard in 2017【18†source】【19†source】.

IPv6 Adoption: A Rocky Road

Despite its benefits, IPv6 adoption has been slow. Migrating to IPv6 is a significant investment, and incompatibility issues with IPv4 infrastructure persist. As of December 2021, only about 33% of Google users accessed the web using IPv6【20†source】.

The Ghost of IPv5

IPv5, or rather the lack of it, teaches us a valuable lesson. Not all protocols make it to global implementation, but they pave the way for more advanced systems, much like IPv6, which continues to face adoption challenges but remains the best long-term solution for the internet’s growth.

Stay connected, and until next time, keep looking beyond the numbers!

Alexey Shkittin

CEO

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