Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is a version of the Internet Protocoll (IP) that is designed to succeed Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). The Internet operates by transferring data in small packets that are independently routed across networks as specified by an international communications protocol known as the Internet Protocol. Each data packet contains two numeric addresses that are the packet's origin and destination devices. Since 1981, IPv4 has been the publicly used version of the Internet Protocol, and it is currently the foundation for most Internet communications. The Internet's growth has created a need for more addresses than IPv4 is capable of. IPv6 allows for vastly more numerical addresses, but switching from IPv4 to IPv6 may be a difficult process.