For those who are unaware, June 6 2012 marked the world launch of IPV6 where many companies we know and love such as Google, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo, AT&T (sort of), AOL and many others upgraded their networks to support IPv6.
Up until now the world has used IPv4, which has worked great for a while until we started using more devices, more people got internet into their homes, and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets took off. Today pretty a great majority of the electronics we us on a daily basis are connected to the Internet and IPv4 was never designed for all these devices. IPv4 can only produce about 4.3 billion unique IP addresses and while methods like Network Address Translation (NAT) have extended the number of IP addresses by allowing multiple devices to share one public IP address, there are still not enough IP addresses with IPv4 to go around. To solve this problem IPv6 was invented and gives us more than 340 undecillion IP addresses.
With this said, some ISP’s or Internet service providers have started to deploy IPv6 and are allowing customers to move over to this new standard. Both AT&T and Comcast are onboard and it probably won’t be too long until other ISPs follow as well. So what does this mean for you? Essentially the switch to IPV6 can mean either of two things—first off you can do nothing and continue using IPv4 and your internet without any problems, or you can be an early adopter and start using IPv6 in areas where offered. The hope is that as more people transition to IPv6, it will free up IPv4 addresses for those with older hardware or those not wanting to upgrade their routers.
So for those ready to bite the bullet and upgrade to IPv6, or if you happen to be in need of a new router, we’ve put together a rundown list of IPv6 compatible routers that can get you set up and rollin’ with IPv6 presuming your ISP supports it.
1.) The Cisco EA2700 App-Enabled n600 Dual Band Wireless Router
This router comes packed with dual band wireless N technology, a Gigabit switch for fast wired connections, and has upcoming software that Cisco claims will let you control appliances and other devices in your home. The EA2700 is fast, easy to use, supports IPv6, and packs in some nice potential upcoming features scheduled for release this summer. Some downsides about the unit are that the software can be buggy which we are hoping Cisco addresses in the next firmware update.
2.) Netgear N900 Wireless Dual Band Router
The N900 is packs in dual band wireless N support, two USB 3.0 ports, which are very rare to find on a router and offer the ability to connect a hard drive, printer, or both. The web interface looks good, is very easy to use, and you’ll find high end features such as parental controls, IPv6 support, good wireless throughput, network mapping, Gigabit Ethernet, a bandwidth meter and much more.
3.) D-Link DIR-827 Amplifi HD Media Router 2000
The D-Link Dir-827 sports dual-band wireless N, USB port, IPv6 support, an SD card slot, excellent software features such as parental controls, guest networking, bandwidth prioritizing, Gigabit Ethernet and more. Downsides to this router are it doesn’t support 450Mbps like other routers in its price range and the software could use some work.
4.) D-Link DIR-645 Amplifi Whole Home Router 1000
Coming in at only $79.99 the D-Link Dir-645 wireless router is the most affordable router we’ve mentioned so far. The DIR-645 supports wireless N at speeds up to 300Mbps, a USB port on the back for connecting a printer or hard drive, and a simple configuration interface. The unit also has an excellent range, IPv6 support, parental controls and steady throughput. While the price is cheap, a few big things were left out of this unit like support for 450Mbpss speeds and 5Ghz.
5.) The Asus RT-N66U 450Mbps Wireless N Router
The Asus RT-N66U ranked high on our list and this router supports dual band wireless N, has fantastic coverage, IPv6 and VPN support, two USB ports, a Gigabit switch and is very well built. Some downfalls about this router are that the software needs improvement, wireless throughput sometimes lacked and the USB ports are rather slow compared to other devices on the market, especially those that support USB 3.0. Also the price is steep at $178.99.
In all, any one of these routers will allow you to gain support of IPv6 given that your Internet service provider has enabled it on their end. I would say that even if you know that your ISP hasn’t got to IPv6, it is still a great idea to choose an IPv6 router that way you are future-proofed for when IPv6 does become available. IPv6 at this point surely is a hassle, but with time and patience, the hope is everyone will eventually transition and the world will have enough IP addresses.