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China's IPv6 plight a lesson for rest of world

By Donna Donnowitz
August 2, 2011
China is currently facing a rapid period of IPv6 adoption that must be hurried and frantic because the regional address allocation center has already run out of IPv4 addresses. While some parts of the world are still a year or two away from IPv6 migration, China needs to be ready now. According to a recent China Economic Net report, the nation's current internet growth could be severely hampered by slow IPv6 migration.

The report explained that China is among the fastest-growing countries in terms of internet adoption, and that pace of innovation is fueling economic expansion throughout the nation. However, the report explained IP addresses are the equivalent of water and air for the internet, meaning it will not be able to function without them. Applications and services that just use IPv4 addresses will be able to keep running, but the nation's meteoric rise in terms of internet use could be delayed significantly if IPv6 adoption does not happen fast enough to support the growing number of applications, services and users in China's internet landscape.

The problems that could hamper the overall internet growth in China also extend to online businesses and service providers. The report explained that any companies that will depend heavily on the internet may be stymied by a lack of IPv4 addresses because users that have migrated to IPv6 will not be able to access their websites unless the company has completed its own migration, which is a much more complex process.

While the migration process could hamper the internet's growth in China for the short-term, the report said the long-term vision for IPv6 includes enabling the "internet of things" and providing a foundation that will dramatically increase the internet's size and capabilities.

For the rest of the world, IPv6 migration may not seem as urgent as it is in China, where IPv4 addresses have all been assigned. However, the potential stagnation of the internet's growth due to a lack of IPv6 capabilties could hit companies in other parts of the world if they are not ready for the new protocol soon. Companies that get started early on IPv6 migration may have time to address some of the protocol's issues before going live. According to a recent SecurityInfoWatch report, organizations need to address security on a procedural and technical level when transitioning to IPv6.


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