Department of Defense
High Performance Computing Modernization Program


A first time visitor to the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) Knowledge Base might want to begin by skimming the Purpose and Structure of the IPv6 Knowledge Base article in the Frequently Asked Questions section and then explore the Initial Introduction article in the General Information section. 


Almost all unclassified networks are interconnected via the Internet which has been continuously expanding in size since the standardization of the Internet Protocol Suite in 1982. The functionality of the Internet has also been expanding. Examples of functionality expansion include:

  1. The World Wide Web (WWW) began appearing on the Internet around 1991.
  2. Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) began appearing on the Internet beginning in 1998. 
  3. When cloud computing began appearing on the Internet is hard to determine, due to its very nature, but it was on the Internet by 2000.
  4. The Internet of Things (IoT) began appearing on the Internet around 2003. A document from this website summarizes the advantages and benefits of IPv6 in the deployment of IoT.
  5. Precursors to the Industrial IoT (IIoT) began appearing in 1982 under various names. The IIoT (also known as Industry 4.0) began appearing on the Internet in 2006. (More than you probably will ever want to know about terms related to IoT and IIoT can be found in this A-to-Z Guide To the Internet of Things).
  6. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) began appearing on the Internet around 2008.

While the WWW, IPv6, cloud computing, IoT, IIoT, and SDN have all significantly expanded the capabilities of the Internet, only IPv6 has significantly changed the process of deploying the networks that make the Internet possible.

IPv4 is over forty years old. This critical part of the Internet’s infrastructure is approaching its end of life, as the American Registry for Internet Numbers issued the last remaining IPv4 addresses in its free pool on September 24, 2015. This won’t have a noticeable effect on the way most individuals use the Internet, but the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses and the efforts to deploy IPv6 addresses are both affecting the way United States Federal departments and agencies, state and local government organizations, academic institutions and commercial businesses use the Internet, as described at length by this article.

The impact of IPv4 address exhaustion on Internet use is described in this 2021 roundup of the state of the Internet by Geoff Huston, while the impact of IPv6 address deployment on Internet use is described: 

Where to Begin

Whatever your area of interest in the on-going world-wide effort to deploy IPv6, please take a moment to skim through the Table of Contents of this Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Change (RFC) IPv6 Deployment Status document. Some of the numerous topics discussed therein may contain information you will find of interest. It is being actively maintained by the IETF.

If you are of the opinion that you don’t need to deploy IPv6 on your network (or, at least don’t need to deploy it anytime soon), please take a look at the IPv6 Not Needed Here article in the General Information section.

If you are just starting to think about deploying IPv6 or in the early phases of a deployment, please take a look at the Before you Begin and Overview of Process articles in the Deployment section.

Additional IPv6 Knowledge Base highlights include:

DREN and IPv6

DREN started supporting IPv6 in June, 2003, when it was designated as the first Department of Defense (DoD) IPv6 pilot network by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Networks and Information Integration)/DoD Chief Information Officer [ASD(NII)/DoD CIO]. By July, 2005, the entire DREN wide-area network was routinely supporting end-to-end IPv6 traffic, sites were supporting IPv6 along with IPv4, and selected applications were IPv6 enabled. DREN has provided its users with servers, services and client applications using IPv6 since then. During the worldwide deployment of IPv6, DREN will continue providing a secure, high-performance IPv6 infrastructure with legacy support for IPv4.

To contribute an article to the IPv6 Knowledge Base, or to correct/update an existing article, please contact ipv6-team [at]