When the internet was first conceptualized it was a private network restricted to a small domain of researchers. Using 32 bits to keep track of addresses were more than enough. After the worldwide spread of the network, the IANA started regulating addresses for users all over the globe. But even then, only a handful of IP addresses were used. With privatization of computers, however, that began to change. No one could have predicted the rate of expansion of internet users.
The result was that we finally began to run out of IP addresses. Even slicing of host IPs and classless usage couldn’t suffice. Thus IPv6 adoption became the optimal solution.
What is IPv6?
As we already know, IP or Internet Protocol is a set of rules by which network devices transfer data on the web. It provides a logical address that can be used to identify networks and devices. IPv6 or Internet Protocol Version 6 is the next generation of internet protocol that will guide traffic on the internet. It is a direct step up from IPv4 which has now become obsolete.
Unlike the IPv4, IPv6 uses 128 bits to configure the address locations of any resource connected to the global network. Thus it has a much larger space and can assign addresses to a larger user base. In fact, IPv6 can support trillions of addresses whereas the previous version could only work with 4.3 billion.
The effect of IPv6 adoption on digital advertising
Digital advertising relies on user-specific ads that target relevant demographics. Most websites have algorithms in place to identify IP Addresses that view their content, thereby, identifying the kind of user that is accessing each content. This allows businesses keep track of other content they may like and thus, they can make accurate models predicting which products will be more marketable.
However, this kind of model prediction becomes infinitely more difficult with IPv4. Networks using version 4 internet protocols usually have layers of IPAddresses that make it difficult to track who the actual end user is. IPv4 uses NAT (Network Address Translation) which is a procedure where any computer in a private network is assigned a public address in order to communicate with the internet. While economical in saving the number of public IP addresses in use, this effectively hides user information from third parties.The relevant information is simply not retrievable and the forecast model consequently suffers. Cookies, detecting device IDs and other alternate technologies help to a certain extent but they can rarely get more specific than entire cities.
IPv6, however, can determine precise, accurate IP addresses thereby providing uncompromising information to organizations and analysts. With an abundance of network addresses available, hiding hosts becomes redundant and inefficient. Thus, use of NAT is deprecated. This “end to end” nature of the system makes it simpler for predictive engines to gather information about users and their patterns. Having no need to reroute the data means IPv6 is also much faster.
The migration to IPv6 has already begun and it is only a matter of time till the entire world makes this shift. With a more open network, it will be a dream come true for data analysts all over. Reports suggest that predictive analysis and machine learning helps profit margins rise by at least 20%. There is no doubt, that the corporate world will benefit hugely.