Like the normal world, the Internet also has its happy moments, scandals, and mysteries. Daily, computers on the whole planet use IPv4, IPv6 protocols to do their job. But have you thought, where is the IPv5? It’s not a rule, but usually, versions of different things are used consecutively. You can also use previous versions of software instead of recent ones. But here, there is a miss between 4 and 6. What happened with IPv5?
What is an Internet protocol (IP)?
IP is a suite of rules through which connection between devices and the Internet is possible. Those rules determine the routes for data to travel around (host-destination-host). In this process, IP addresses play a key role in identifying every device connected.
Let’s dive a bit into history. At the end of the 1960s, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) began linking computers across U.S. buildings. Such a network was ambitious and required some tech to be developed, software and hardware. An Internet protocol was part of those needs. So the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) was created for data to travel safely and much more. It was a host-level, end-to-end packaging and routing protocol. Too much to be handled. The developers realized it, so those functions were split, and IP got only packaging and routing tasks.
Three versions of TCP had been created. The fourth was called IPv4. You should know how it looks like a string of numbers between 0 and 254, grouped in 4 teams. Example, 220.127.116.11. IPv4 utilized 32-bit address space, what provided 4,294,967,296 (232) unique addresses.
Officially, the IPv4 standard was created in 1982. Its available addresses (over four billion) were over in 2011. It’s not hard to believe. IP addresses can be finished, but daily, connected devices to the Internet are more. Every user on the planet connects more than just one device. When even after reusing IPs, they are not enough to identify more devices, a new standard arrives on the scene.
Originally, IPv5 was called Internet Stream Protocol or ST. It was planned as an ambitious experiment for streaming audio and video. An attractive capability for the transfer of data packets on determined frequencies while keeping communication.
Each address’s structure was four groups of numbers between 0 and 255 this time.
Unfortunately, problems showed up. The design of IPv5 focused on the development of new features, but the 32-bit limitation was not overcome. IPv5 provided the same 4,294,967,296 (232) unique addresses supplied before by IPv4. Considering the daily growth of connected devices, this was a big problem. There was not evolution between versions.
The successful launching of IPv5 fall apart. It was not accepted as the next Internet protocol. IPv6 inherited the promising features of IPv5, and it gave the base for the voice-over IP tech that currently all the world use for communicating.
This happened late in the 1970’s decade. IPv6 would be created more than twenty years later. In 1998, IPv6 was born with 128-bit to provide around 340 trillion trillion trillion unique IP addresses (2128). IPs were built not in four groups of numbers but eight groups four hexadecimal digits. Every group, separated by colons, represented 16 bits. Example:
IPv5’s mystery solved! Now you know what happened.
IP addresses won’t stop being required. Users’ demand for the Internet is bigger every single day. A connection is reaching even the most isolated locations, therefore more humans. And the amount of devices every person owns and connects is hard to calculate already. There is still a lot to see in the future when it is about IP.