There is not a single date to move to IPv6. For the foreseeable future, both IPv4 and IPv6 will coexist. The transition is expected to take years. The IETF has created various protocols and tools to help network administrators migrate their networks to IPv6. The migration techniques can be divided into three categories:
- Dual Stack – As shown in Figure 1, dual stack allows IPv4 and IPv6 to coexist on the same network. Dual stack devices run both IPv4 and IPv6 protocol stacks simultaneously.
- Tunneling – As shown in Figure 2, tunneling is a method of transporting an IPv6 packet over an IPv4 network. The IPv6 packet is encapsulated inside an IPv4 packet, similar to other types of data.
- Translation – As shown in Figure 3, Network Address Translation 64 (NAT64) allows IPv6-enabled devices to communicate with IPv4-enabled devices using a translation technique similar to NAT for IPv4. An IPv6 packet is translated to an IPv4 packet, and vice versa.