Additional IPv6 Features
Although IPv6 appears to have functionality similar to CIDRs, there are
many additional features that were not included in IPv4. These features
make IPv6 much more robust and convenient. These changes include a
streamlined IPv6 header, stateless configuration, built in security, bet 
ter QoS, and increased real time performance.
Streamlined IPv6 Header
The IPv6 header has a new format that is designed to keep header over 
head to a minimum. This format is achieved by moving both nonessen 
tial fields and option fields to extension headers that are placed after
the IPv6 header. The streamlined IPv6 header provides more efficient
processing at intermediate routers.
Stateless and Stateful Configuration
IPv6 supports both stateful and stateless address configurations. IPv6
will work with or without a DHCP server. With stateless address config 
uration, hosts on a link automatically configure themselves with IPv6
addresses for the link (called link local addresses) and with addresses
derived from prefixes advertised by local routers. Even in the absence of
a router, hosts on the same link can automatically configure themselves
with link local addresses and communicate without manual configura 
Built in Security
Support for IPSec is an IPv6 protocol suite requirement. This require 
ment provides a standards based solution for network security and pro 
motes interoperability between different IPv6 implementations.
Better Support for QoS
New fields in the IPv6 header define how traffic is handled and identi 
fied. Traffic identification using a flow label field in the IPv6 header
allows routers to identify and provide special handling for packets
belonging to a flow, which is a series of packets between a source and
destination. Because the traffic is identified in the IPv6 header, support
for QoS can be achieved even when the packet payload is encrypted
through IPSec.
Real Time Performance
IPv6 offers a packet prioritization feature that provides the real time
and near real time applications an improved response time. Conse 
quently, IPv6 will become the protocol of choice for those applications.
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