As you are most likely already aware, IPv6 launched today. It will slowly become the standard at which we connect to the Internet, but IPv4 is still going to be around for a while. Microsoft has been one of the major players in the transition and is making Windows 8 one of the most IPv6-friendly services out there.
To help facilitate the move to IPv6, Microsoft has made Windows 8 compatible with all three forms of IP networks – IPv4, IPv6 and dual-stack. On IPv4-only networks, Windows 8 will use a technology called Teredo that translates IPv6 packets into IPv4 packets. This will be especially helpful for those trying to access networks that are exclusively on IPv6.
The most common form of network that we’re probably going to see over the next few years is the dual-stack network. IPv4 and IPv6 are not compatible with each other which led to the creation of dual-stack networks. This allows devices to have both an IPv4 and an IPv6 address. For Windows 8 on dual-stack, the OS will prioritize IPv6 connections when available to help push the protocol into being the standard. Don’t worry, however, as Microsoft promises that Windows 8 will provide the best user experience in regards to the Internet regardless of the transition.
Continuing with dual-stack networks, Microsoft details their efforts in creating a new network detection algorithm that they call address sorting. It allows Windows 8 to sort through the connections available to it and choose the one that will get the job done faster than all the rest. In layman terms, it means that Windows 8 won’t spend a long time trying to connect to an IPv6 address that’s not functioning. It will be able to detect such a problem immediately and rever to IPv4.
If you’re on a device that’s IPv6 only, Windows 8 has you covered as well. When connecting to an IPv4 address through IPv6, Windows 8 will use NAT64. The only problem is that it’s extremely buggy and can cause problems with P2P connectivity. To that end, Microsoft has started to upgrade all of its services to IPv6. Starting this month, Bing will exclusively serve traffic over IPv6.
While it’s fantastic that Microsoft is being so aggressive in pushing IPv6, their insistence that all of their services use it right away might cause some issues for those on older hardware. Bing is the one to watch with it moving exclusive to IPv6 later this month. It will be interesting to see if anybody has problems accessing Bing or finds that the service is slower than usual.
On a final note, Microsoft has provided a neat widget in the blog post that tells you whether or not you have IPv4, IPv6 or dual-stack. We’re exclusive on IPv4 here so we’ll let you know if we experience any anomalies as we march towards the future of the Internet.