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Understanding IPv6: Your Essential Guide to IPv6 on Windows Networks

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When Joe first asked me to write a foreword for this latest edition of Understanding IPv6, I looked to forewords from previous editions as well as other networking books, hoping to draw some inspiration. As will become increasingly obvious, my writing skills are not as honed as Joe’s.

Looking back was actually incredibly useful to me, because it clearly accentuated what has changed in the last few years. Microsoft has supported IPv6—the next generation of the Internet Protocol—since its inception. We built support into the Windows stack, rearchitected our platform to enable developers to take advantage of IPv6, and over the past 10 years have been extending support across the company.

The Internet Protocol is the routing and transit protocol for the Internet, the largest and most important assembly of computing infrastructure of our time. IPv6 is going to make the Internet better, by allowing direct connectivity between host, whether they be family members video chatting or business information zooming between data centers.

We frequently take the time to remind everyone of our commitment to the realization of the end-benefits of IPv6. We do this for multiple reasons. We take pride in our work, certainly, and it gives us great pleasure to do our part to make technology a bit better. But perhaps more important, these reminders are evangelical; they assure customers, partners, and readers that IPv6 is something worthy of attention, worthy of adoption.

For many years, this was a difficult task. People didn’t want IPv6. The growth and maturation of IPv4 survival strategies, such as large-scale network address translation, threatened the inevitability of IPv6 adoption. That’s the truth. Some in the networking world might try to revise the past 10 years: the broken routing equipment, the inadequate software, the legends of danger, IPv6 performance problems, IPv6 security problems, IPv6 money issues, and IPv6 zombies.

That darkness was real, but that darkness has past. In the past 24 months, we’ve made immense progress toward the goal of upgrading the Internet. IPv6 is no longer the next-generation Internet Protocol; it has become the now-generation Internet Protocol.
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