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I've heard this argument before … but how could that have possibly worked? An IPv4 client is only going to be able to address 2 ^ 32 addresses, and it seems like the pigeonhole principle implies that the client can't possibly address the entire IPv6 space with that address format.

How would an IPv4 client, with this hypothetical backwards-compatible IPv6, connect to an IPv6 server?

A special flag in the ip packet that indicates which type of address it should be interpreted as, really that should be all, the rest of the work is drivers for software and routers.

If you need to change software on all machines and routers, what have you gained vs IPv6 as it is? being backwards-compatible would mean that it would work with unchanged old machines, which doesn't work since that wasn't planned in IPv4. IPv6 could be simpler, yes, and has accumulated quite a bit of well-meant baggage, but you don't get out of updating everything if you want to completely switch.

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