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Unlock the incredible power of IPv6 for VoIP & UC systems

Posted by Daniel Noworatzky on Jul 3, 2024 10:13:00 AM

Person using IPv6 while on a call - TeleDynamics blog

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the successor to the well-established IPv4 network layer protocol. It is slowly but surely gaining ground worldwide on both internal corporate enterprise networks and on the internet at large.

But what does this mean for real-time audio and video communications applications such as VoIP and unified communications (UC)? How are VoIP and UC leveraging IPv6, and are there any issues that network admins must be aware of in this process? In this article, we answer these questions by examining the benefits and challenges of deploying such applications over an IPv6 network.

The IPv6 timeline

IPv6 represents a groundbreaking technology that has only recently begun to see significant adoption rates. Despite its cutting-edge status, it might surprise some to learn that IPv6 has existed for over 25 years; it was first published in 1998.

However, it wasn’t until 2017 that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) officially ratified it as an internet standard. This prolonged journey to official ratification wasn’t the result of any flaws or drawbacks of the protocol itself. Instead, it stemmed from the immense scale and substantial investment required to facilitate this transition.

For years, companies and organizations have found it more cost-effective to find ways to prolong the usefulness of IPv4 and push back the adoption date of IPv6. However, this time of deferring implementation is slowly coming to an end.

IPv6 and communications platforms

A few years ago, we discussed IPv6 and its benefits and examined its impact on VoIP systems. Since then, IPv6 has continued to increase in penetration worldwide. At the same time, simple VoIP-centric systems are steadily evolving into more feature-rich UC systems, encompassing a wider range of services and applications.

This evolution toward UC is a response to the growing demand for integrated communications tools that seamlessly support voice, video, messaging, and collaboration applications. As organizations continue to embrace digital transformation, the importance of robust, scalable, and secure networking infrastructures has become more apparent.

The shift from traditional VoIP systems to feature-richer UC systems somewhat mirrors the similar, more fundamental shift from IPv4 to IPv6. The timing of these migrations is quite fortuitous because, now more than ever, IPv6 is in a position to offer the fundamental support and operational capabilities required to deliver a network infrastructure that can more fully support all of UC’s capabilities.

Advantages of IPv6 for UC

Many of the advantages of IPv6 for VoIP that we mentioned years ago are still valid today. IPv6’s vast address space, inherent security design, the elimination of potentially VoIP-breaking features such as Network Address Translation (NAT), and its ease of deployment are all fundamental benefits of the protocol that remain unchanged.

Some newer trends in the application of IPv6, especially for VoIP and UC applications, include IPv6’s mobility features, IoT-specific implementations, and QoS-enhanced communications, all of which are further described below.

IPv6 mobility

Engineers designed IPv6 in and for the mobile era; thus, IPv6 introduces significant improvements in mobility over IPv4. These enhancements are particularly relevant in the context of UC systems, which increasingly cater to mobile workforces and hybrid workforces.

The key mobility features of IPv6 that support UC systems include Mobile IPv6 (MIPv6), Network Mobility (NEMO), and better roaming support, which facilitate seamless communication experiences for users on the move.

Mobile IPv6 (MIPv6)

Mobile IPv6 is a protocol developed to enable mobile devices to move from one network to another without changing their permanent IPv6 addresses. This capability is crucial for UC applications — such as VoIP calls, video conferencing, and instant messaging — that require a stable connection to maintain session continuity.

With MIPv6, a mobile device can change its attachment point to the Internet without losing ongoing sessions or connections. This means a user in a UC call can transit between different Wi-Fi networks or switch from Wi-Fi to a cellular network without the call dropping.

Network Mobility (NEMO)

NEMO is a feature that extends the principles of Mobile IPv6 to entire networks as opposed to single hosts, allowing them to remain connected to the Internet while on the move. This is useful for UC systems deployed in vehicles (buses, trains, or planes) or temporary locations (such as construction sites or conference venues), providing continuous Internet connectivity for all nodes within the moving network.

This capability enables users in these mobile networks to participate in video conferences, access shared documents, and use instant messaging without interruption.

Improved roaming support

IPv6 enhances roaming capabilities, specifically the handoff mechanism of mobile devices from one network to another. It works in tandem with lower-layer processes, enabling devices to move across different networks more efficiently.

This improvement is crucial for UC systems because it ensures that users maintain high-quality communications regardless of how often they roam. Enhanced roaming supports smoother transitions between networks, reducing packet loss and latency, which is critical for real-time UC applications.

This seamless roaming experience is vital for businesses with a global presence or a highly mobile workforce, ensuring consistent interaction.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

Integrating IoT devices into the business ecosystem further underscores the necessity for IPv6. As workplaces become smarter and more connected, the demand for IP addresses exceeds what IPv4 can offer.

IPv6’s ability to accommodate the exponential growth of IoT devices ensures that you can seamlessly integrate these devices into UC systems. This integration is pivotal for creating truly smart workplaces with interconnected components, from conferencing systems to smart lighting.

Inherent QoS

The enhanced quality of service (QoS) capabilities of IPv6 play a pivotal role in the performance of UC systems. Prioritizing voice, video, and critical business application traffic ensures these services function optimally even under heavy network load. This prioritization is crucial for maintaining the high standards of communication and collaboration that modern businesses require.


As we look to the future, it becomes clear that the transition to IPv6 represents a necessary evolution to support the growing complexity and demands of modern UC systems. The benefits of IPv6 extend beyond addressing and security, providing a scalable and efficient framework that can adapt to the future needs of digital communication.

The ongoing adoption of IPv6 will undoubtedly continue to shape the landscape of VoIP and UC systems, driving innovation and enabling more dynamic, integrated, and secure communications solutions for businesses worldwide.

You may also like: 

How IPv6 Benefits VoIP

Wi-Fi 5 vs. Wi-Fi 6: key differences between the two

VoIP and IoT – A marriage of innovation


Topics: Wireless, Network Design, IoT, Unified Communications, Internet Protocol

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