Businesses falling behind on IPv6 migration

Most businesses have been too slow to prepare for IPv6 migration.

By Donna Donnowitz
July 5, 2011
The urgency of IPv6 migration has been a hotly debated issue in recent months, but the Internet Society's estimate that Regional Internet Registries will likely run out of IPv4 addresses by year's end is a sign that IPv6 migration is becoming urgent. However, a recent InformationWeek report said most businesses are not ready for IPv6 adoption.

While service providers and many government agencies were early IPv6 adopters and are now closer to enabling IPv6 networks, the report said businesses have been slowed by a poor understanding of what IPv6 actually entails and are just beginning to develop their IPv6 strategies. According to the report, this leaves many businesses scrambling to learn as much as they can about IPv6 and upgrade their infrastructure to support the new protocol.

In the end, the report estimates most businesses will be pushed to IPv6 by their customers. As more consumers begin to deploy IPv6-based devices, businesses will need to adapt and make sure they are equipped to handle incoming transmissions from those customers. Otherwise, consumers may not be able to access a company's site and revenue loses could be significant.

To begin the migration to IPv6, the report said companies should invest in a new network gateway. This will give the company access to hardware that will support both IPv4 and IPv6 transmissions, providing the first line of support for the two protocols. The gateway is key to let IPv6 users in, and once that access has been established, the company can take a measured, intelligent look at network infrastructure. The report said infrastructure is the second key area for development during IPv6 migration. Upgrading network equipment to work with IPv6 is a key to long-term support for the new protocol. Migrating network appliances to support IPv6 is the final step in the process, the report said.

According to the report, the three-step approach to IPv6 migration is relatively simple. However, it entails such a large process that it can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to complete depending on a company's technological footprint.

The time-consuming nature of IPv6 migration makes the process urgent for businesses. A recent Network World report explains that businesses using network address translation and private address space may not need IPv6 for their own purposes. However, migration is still urgent because the company needs to support incoming traffic from consumers using IPv6-enabled devices.


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