The 128-bit IPv6 has address space that will eliminate the address scarcity of IPv4 for many years. The solution allows for network auto-configuration, better multicast routing, and simpler, more efficient formatting and routing. IPv6 handles packets more efficiently than IPv4, improves performance and security, and can reduce the size of routing tables for providers. IPv6 devices are also more energy efficient than those using IPv4 and minimize the cyberattack tracking issues of IPv4 address sharing. Authentication and privacy controls are built in, and, with flexible options and extensions, administration is easier with IPv6.
Despite these benefits, the adoption of IPv6, first made available in 2010, has been slow, with only 34% global adoption and 46% US adoption as of March 2022. Most of this gradual acceptance can be attributed to IPv6's increased complexity and immediate cost, the time needed to make the transition, and a lack of incentive felt by service providers to make the move. The new protocol was notably not engineered to be backwards compatible. Enterprises in particular are trailing in terms of adoption, reflecting their need to outsource this transition. Work-from-home conditions have actually decreased IPv6 adoption in 2021, with offices more likely to still operate on IPv4
However, given time, IPv6 is the future long-term solution, however it may take more than high address prices to drive the transition.