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What do YOU call the IPv6 address parts?

There seems to be some confusion as to what exactly you call the different address sections of an IPv6 address.  The parts between the ':' delimiter.  Or, the equivalent of an 'octet' in an IPv4 address.

I hadn't realized until I stumbled across this post:

... that it was still such an unresolved issue.  Especially since IPv6 has been around seemingly forever.

There is a long list of suggested names, from 'chunk' to 'chazwazza'.

There is even an IETF RFC in discussion:

This is the latest version, submitted on April 7, 2011.

I'm really glad to see that the final mandatory term seems to be:  HEXTET

Hextet made the most sense to me, as it indicated hex characters, and had a nice alliteration to 'octet', the term used for IPv4 addresses.

Earlier versions of the RFC had deprecated the term hextet, as technically it refers to a 6 bit entity, not 16 bit.  But common slang seems to have prevailed, as it usually does.

So, does 'hextet' work for you?  Or do you still call it something else?  Since the RFC is still in draft, there is still time for the official name to change.


In the spirit of octets, I call them hextets.

Hextets is also listed in the draft of proposed names..

It looks like the IETF is closing in on using hextet.

The original draft had many proposed names.

Glenn Matthys

I just call them "groups", as in, an IPv6 address is a 128 bit address divided into 8 groups of 16 bits, represented in hexadecimal form, seperated by a colon.

People will most likely be subnetting on one group instead of individual bits (at least, that's how I do it - super easy).


Phillip Remaker
Cisco Employee

Well, if you wanted to be consistent with polygon naming nomenclature, you might want to call it a hexadecatet or hexakaidecatet, but the syllable conservation society would have a fit.  Computer scientists already call a 16 bit quantity a "word," but the taxonomical collision potential for that selection is enormous.


I agree that precisely a hextet is really a six bit entity, but since they are so uncommon in the wild, it is probably reasonable to take a linguistic liberty.  My thought is that if you are going to be anyway, why not reduce it to a single syllable form, like a hexie or chunk?


We need to move on to more important matters, like monosyllabic words to replace "colon" and "colon-colon."  I suggest whack and thud, respectively.  Let's see if I can go viral.


Unfortunately, the Layer 2 MAC address crowd have failed to address the "colon" problem and resorted to using dashes in a lot of MAC address representations. I contend that it was simply to save 5 syllables for every enunciated MAC address.


I have complained about the relative unpronouncability of IPv6 addresses for years, but have yet to see anyone seriously tackle the issue.


"Proquints" was a novel way to address the issue ( but it is strictly aligned on 16-bit quantities, so it tends to mask visibility of aggregation at any finer granularity.

The Comic Book Illustrators Guild might have issue with co-opting whack and thud.  And the slasher sisters (Whack and Back-Whack) might have issue with stealing one of the twins' name for colon.

Since period "." is often called "dot" I have seen colon called "dots" or a "two-spot."  You could always go with the older "put put" Victor Borge's version, but I never get the pronunciation quite right.

Now that we've run out of IPv4 address range assignments, time to brush up on this again.  Even if it never became official, hextet follows from octet and becomes the common usage even if not quite mathematically equivalent.