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Internet Protocol (IPv4 and IPv6)
The Internet Protocol (IP) is a connectionless inter-network protocol operating over a heterogeneous network which is a combination of Ethernet, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI), Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and others. Data from an upper layer protocol is encapsulated as packets/datagrams. The packet consists of a header and the message data itself. Every machine on the Internet has a unique identifying number called Internet Protocol (IP) address. Based on these addresses, the routers allow packets to travel between networks by directing them to their destination.
Internet Protocol Version 4
IPv4 is the fourth revision of the Internet Protocol for use in packet switched link layer networks like the Ethernet. IPv4 address is 32-bit wide split into four bytes, with 2^32 unique addresses. Some of the addresses are reserved for private networks or are multicast addresses. The IP address is split into two sections: Net and Host. The most significant octet is used for network identification and the rest is for host identification.
Internet protocol Version 6
IPv6 was designed to meet the requirements that didn’t exist when IPv4 was first conceived. According to  the primary changes in IPV6 are "(1) an extension of the IP address from 32 bits (IPv4) to 128 bits (IPv6) to enable more addressable nodes; (2) flow labeling; (3) header simplification; and (4) more support for extensions and options. Support of security services such as message authentication and encryption is also required for any implementation of IPv6". Advantages include the following: IPv6 has increased address space and has many improvements in areas such as routing and network auto-configuration over IPv4 while disadvantages are that, because of very high investment already done in IPv4, and the limited additional benefits of IPv6, the latter version has not been implemented widely yet.
Internet Protocol provides support for Multiple vendor functionalities and also provides an open, common, interoperable language for devices and media operating in the smart grid environment.
 NETL Compendium of Smart Grid Technologies: http://www.netl.doe.gov/smartgrid/referenceshelf/whitepapers/Compendium_of_Technologies_APPROVED_2009_08_18.pdf
Key Technology Area:
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